Outlook for Electric Vehicles and Implications for the Oil Market

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The market for electric vehicles (EVs) is growing rapidly. Subsidies and technological improvements are expected to increase the market share of EVs over the coming decade. In its base-case scenario, the International Energy Agency (IEA) expects EV use to rise from 4 million vehicles in 2018 to 120 million by 2030, or from 0.3 per cent to over 7 per cent of the global car fleet. However, depending on environmental policy decisions, the number of EVs on the road by 2030 could reasonably range between 57 million and 300 million (4 to 19 per cent of the global fleet). The switch to EVs will have important implications for the global oil market. Our analysis shows that for every additional 100 million EVs on the road in 2030, gasoline consumption would fall by about one million barrels of oil per day and oil prices would be 4 per cent lower. Applying this rule-of-thumb to IEA’s base-case oil price projection of US$90 for 2030, we find that different assumptions on the size of the EV fleet can reasonably push oil prices within a range of US$85 to US$93.

JEL Code(s): Q, Q4, Q47