Yves here. While this post’s conclusions look correct, it’s important to recognize that the reduction in gasoline purchases is due primarily to the fact that work at home has, for quite a few, lasted beyond the lockdowns. You can see that major shift confirmed by the big drop in leased-up rates of major office buildings in urban centers.
The flip side is that it’s hard to see how EVs replace the internal combustion engine any time soon. One monster impediment not mentioned often enough is the need to upgrade the grid. Second is many prospective customers can’t readily manage charging times. Third is the greater risk of running out of power in cold temperatures, particularly in the winter, where being stuck in a frigid car is dangerous.
I would be curious to know from readers how many drove compared to the pre-pandemic era for vacation and visits to relatives. That consumption is independent of commuting.
By Karin Kirk. Originally published at Yale Climate Connections
The United States is by far the world’s largest consumer of gasoline. But consumption has fallen compared with pre-pandemic levels, and it’s plausible that the U.S. has passed its peak gasoline use. Explore the interactive graphic below to see how gasoline consumption has changed over time.
A Few Takeaways
- This graph shows the amount of gasoline consumed in the U.S. The dotted line at the end is the expected gasoline use over the coming two years. The data is from the Energy Information Administration.
- Driving and gasoline use peak in the summer and hit their annual low point in January.
- The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted everything, including driving habits and the gasoline supply chain. The sharp dip in gasoline use in March 2020 occurred when many Americans stopped driving to work, school, and most other places.
- Beginning in January 2022, gasoline consumption resumed the same seasonal pattern as before the pandemic, but at a lower level.
- One cause for the decline in gasoline use is that Americans are driving less — in part due to remote and hybrid work and less commuting than in the pre-COVID days. High gas prices may also have contributed to a reduction in driving, particularly in mid-2022 when prices peaked.
- Another reason is improving fuel economy, especially as the adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles is growing. In the first quarter of 2023, electric vehicles accounted for 7.2% of all new car purchases, and EV and hybrid sales are booming.
- If, indeed, the U.S. has passed the peak of gasoline use, the high mark occurred in August 2019, at 413 million gallons per day, or 1.2 gallons of gasoline per day for every person in the U.S.
- Gasoline is the single-largest use of crude oil. That the needle may be starting to move on a large portion of global fossil fuel consumption is welcome news in terms of reducing air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, benzene, and climate-warming carbon pollution.
The Fine Print
The data shows ‘’motor gasoline supplied,” which is a good approximation of consumption. The detailed definition below is paraphrased from the Energy Information.
The term “product supplied” approximately represents consumption of petroleum products because it measures the disappearance of these products from primary sources, i.e., refineries, natural gas-processing plants, blending plants, pipelines, and bulk terminals. In general, “product supplied” is computed as follows: field production, plus refinery production, plus imports, plus unaccounted-for crude oil (plus net receipts when calculated on a PAD District basis) minus stock change, minus crude oil losses, minus refinery inputs, and minus exports.
I want to see further back, in order to tell whether normal economic cyclical effects are as big as the current dip. 2012 was a minor recession-like period, iirc. Seeing 2007-8 would give more insight.
In short, the decline could just be that broke people don’t buy gas and lots of people are broke right now. The timing lines up.
This occurred to me as well. Currently, gas is relatively expensive.
You can change the date on the chart. I set it to start at January 2007 and didn’t see anything wildly different. Everything before about 2015 is lower than that plateau from 2015 to 2019.
I would have to wonder just how easy it would be to get a recharge somewhere in the middle of Nevada aka the Great Basin or Great Plains after you leave the Rocky Mountains.
I keep seeing these articles about electric engines and other issues where it looks like the writer has never been outside of New England or some American metropolis in the South or the Midwest. This includes state governments like California. It is a big, big country with just about every single kind of environment on Earth except jungles with people and businesses in all of them. If people want to get rid of the gasoline engine, they are going to have to guarantee functional replacements that are just as useful, dependable, and no more expensive than a gasoline engine, which also means an absolute guarantee of a steady supply of whatever form of fuel is being used. If they, and we have to include both federal and state governments on this, cannot do this, it’s all hopium.
California has mandated a switch to selling electric vehicles. But it either ain’t going to happen or the Democratic Party is going to lose the state no matter how much more manipulation of the elections it already does.
I have a landline telephone because California, AT&T, and PG&E all are flakes. California’s Public Utilities Commission is a corrupt cesspit that has refused to adequately regulate anything for at least a century, which has been common knowledge about as long. PG&E not only does not do enough maintenance on its infrastructure, it habitually diverts funds given to it by the state for maintenance for bonuses and dividends. It also cuts power in counties on the slightest chance of fires in distant counties because reasons. Often with little warning or explanation. AT&T only has batteries lasting just hours as backup for the cell towers. All this means that if I want assurances of being able to talk to anyone about six-eight hours in a blackout, I need a landline.
So far, the state is not doing anything to fix the problems I just listed. Admittedly, I have not been really looking for any news on this, but based on my previous five decades of disappointment…
I think that the entire country has some form of this.
In “the entire country has some form of this” dept., I can add that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is also a corrupt cesspit. My guess is that if Ohio were challenged by wildfires, the state wouldn’t even exist anymore; it would have been burned off the map.
You don’t have to guess.
Look at the charger map.
Very few places are more than 100 miles from a fast charger, and they are the places you’d expect – Wyoming, South Dakota, etc.
I’m looking at the map. All those brown symbols are “restricted” which I assume means “Teslas Only.”
I have no idea what you mean by that.
You can choose the connector, which will change the icons displayed on the map. ChaDeMo and CCS chargers are not Tesla chargers. Click on any icon and it will tell you the connector type.
What most people care about is the charge rate. J1772 @ 6kw (220v, 30 amp) will get you about 25 miles of range per hour charged. Chademo @ 50 kw, CCS @ 150 kw or 350 kw will get you much more range much more quickly.
Slow chargers are in the majority where I live (Scotland) – because they are cheaper to install. But slow chargers are only useful if you are working, or holidaying or whatever, in the same location all day. Anyone driving an EV to get to a destination and return again the same day needs fast DC chargers (or a car which can accept fast AC – not all can). Here there is maybe one DC charger per 50 miles, and if one is out of order you may not be able to either get to the next one or go back – especially in hilly country or in winter. If there are even two other cars in the queue you are faced with perhaps an hour+ before you can move on. That’s with something (probably) like 2 or 3 % of EV’s v IC in the whole country. The infrastructure is nowhere near adequate for the proposed (here) abolition of internal combustion within 10/12 years, and with the current financial situation I can’t see this changing much. I have no idea if the current mains supply network is adequate for this either. I’m probably going to sell my EV and get a hybrid next time.
How many gas stations aren’t connected to the electric grid? How many gasoline cars can refuel at home? Electricity is already a cheaper fuel for cars, and battery technology is constantly improving at an incredible pace.
I don’t disagree that we need better regulation of most electric utilities, but it’s not like accelerating climate change is going to reduce the necessity of functional government oversight…
The good news underlying this situation is that there are some policy options that could put a significant dent in carbon emissions. Less gasoline consumption means less carbon emissions, and all it would take to lock in the emissions gain from Covid is to enact policies that incentivize companies to continue and expand work-from-home.
The problem is that our system is a highly complex house of cards built to maximize short term profits. Work-from-home threatens commercial real estate, downtown bars and restaurants and eventually demand for personal vehicles. So employers are now trying to force people back into the office, not because that’s critical to the employers’ bottom line but because other economic interests require it.
We are captives of this screwed up system, and to some extent, a lot of the people who think they’re in charge are captives as well.
They just ran an article about Seattle downtown being “saved” by Amazon’s return to 3 days in the office policy starting up this week. But first of all, why should we give a damn about commercial real estate value other than the idiocy of cities funding everything through property taxes in the first place. Third, if we can work from home then those offices ARE worthless and should be turned into housing/demolished to make parks.
We should worry much more about banning cars and transitioning to walkable, bikeable, and transit-rich cities than replacing our existing global-and-local murder machines with less globally murdery ones.
A lot of this is due to work from home and hangover from covid, but the long term gasoline drop is going to happen due to the coming EV transition.
1. 85% of new cars in Norway are battery EVs,
2. About 30% of new cars in China (world’s largest auto market) are battery EVs and Europe is approaching 30%,
3. In China, EVs are on a price parity with ICE vehicles,
4. China’s air pollution requirements will prohibit ICE sales in a year and there are apparently 4 million ICE cars that can’t be sold and car dealers are going broke. Japanese companies may go broke because they are not making EVs. Toyota’s new Chinese BZ3 car is made by a Chinese company – BYD – and rebadged,
5. EU and California have instituted a ban on ICE sales in 2035,
6. Battery prices and technologies keep dropping and changing.
7. Sodium batteries are 30% cheaper than lithium and work better in the cold and several brands of cars will be sold with them this year,
8. Solar is dropping in price and being added to energy sources all across the world. Even oil Texas is the largest generator of wind electricity,
9. Biden is trying to keep foreign EVs out of the US and it is working now but US citizens are bound to see what is happening elsewhere. Volvo and the MG4 will come to the US,
10. Etc Etc
But what about the EV infrastructure? As it is the US is full of leaking pipes, structurally unsound bridges, potholed roads, etc. How are you going to provide fueling points for all those cars?
“A report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) found: 220,000 bridges, 36% of American total stock, need repair and 79,500 need to be replaced. They identify the states with the most “serious” or “worse” condition bridges as: Iowa (1,762 bridges), Oklahoma (922), Illinois (764), Pennsylvania (728), Missouri (700), and Louisiana (638).
On an A to F grading scale, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the U.S.’ infrastructure condition a dreadful D+ and described investment in it’s improvement as “woefully inadequate.”
Here’s a breakdown of ASCE’s rating:- Levees: D,
Roads: D, Inland Waterways: D, Dams: D, Aviation: D-,
Bridges: C+, Drinking Water: D+, Energy: D+, Hazardous Waste Management: D+, Transit: D,
Rail: B, Ports: C.”
(I don’t have dates for these reports, – I think they apply to within the last couple of years -but it should be easy enough to check).
What specific obstacles do you see?
What do we do about all the people who can’t charge an EV at home?
I’m 14 months into owning my electric vehicle, a 2022 Nissan Leaf. I have never lived in a place where I could charge at home, and thus depend entirely on the public charging network. It’s been fine.
We need a lot fewer chargers than the opponents of EVs think we do.
Since 2020 my diesel consumption has plummeted because I’m now a permanent work from home employee. But still use more than I’d like with the 30 mile trip to town for groceries, soccer games, etc.
Vacations too. Both our MT staycations in the woods and the occasional OR coast trip burn a bunch of fuel. With four humans, two dogs, and the outdoor gear driving 12 hours doesn’t seem all that bad.
If I had to guess I’d bet my fuel consumption has dropped 50% if not more.
Is there less time in traffic for the remaining drivers now that work from home has taken people off the roads? You burn fuel even just sitting on traffic.
Anecdotally here in Boston that didn’t happen because the public transportation system deteriorated so much at the same time, but I doubt that’s much of an issue elsewhere.
Nothing much changed, maybe a little less in-town driving through the pandemic. Husband works at home, at least for another few years. We rarely leave town. Driving to Boulder to listen to ‘The Ukulele Orchestra of the U.K.’ was the first live performance I’ve sat in with a live audience in about five years.
We didn’t vacation for those two summers or a couple of years before that. Buying the 5th wheel last fall was our return to vacationing. The RV parks are now half-full of residents, with vacationers taking up the remaining spaces. Competition is keen due in part to all those who decided they wouldn’t be waiting for the pandemic to end caged up together in their houses and went out and bought recreational vehicles. More demand but not much more supply. There’s still plenty of driving going on but the purpose, destinations, and duration have changed. Perhaps we’re still hopping from flower to flower but alighting longer.
There was this story with KOMO:
That will happen a lot faster if the participants get started today.
The system is not designed to anticipate need. None of individual utilities, state utility boards, or any federal entity are inclined to be proactive. All spending on grid development is predicated on proven need today, not expected need tomorrow.
That will happen a lot faster if the participants get started today.
But they are not.
The system is designed to anticipate greed…
there was an article the other day about someone finding a fast charger and it costing $55 or so to fill up so even now not really cheaper than a high mileage ICE car. You seem to be saying here that after everyone has an electric car that will solve the grid problem because capitalism? I look at the fleet and the electric cars are expensive. Not everyone is a rich person. What sort of used car market do you anticipate in the electric car future? Right now batteries and their respective rare earth components are expensive. I drive a golf cart on the island an it is not cheap, a new rack of batteries is $1000, and you can bet that when it’s cold, they don’t work as good. They wear out and need to be replaced pretty regularly, especially if you have bad charging habits, which, judging by cell phones, is pretty common I’m not saying that electric cars aren’t a good idea and have their place but there are limitations
The approval system for grid upgrades most certainly is not designed to anticipate greed. Every participant is incented to be parochial and build the smallest possible improvement which will meet proven needs today. There is absolutely zero tolerance for wise planning or greed.
I’m not saying that in any way that you mean that.
Grid participants will slowly respond to grid loading and overloading. That’s the way the system is designed.
T is right about no change happening; unless the electric grid is nationalized/municipalized. Private companies don’t care about keeping prices down, fixing the grid, using renewable energy, and only care about bonuses, stock buybacks, and paying dividends.
In California, PG&E is not a utility at all but is the Devil’s profit center.
If they can’t make people homeless with their outrageous electricity rates, they will kill 80 or 100 people to give the Devil his return on investment. PG&E’s off-peak rate (ie nighttime and afternoon) is $0.26/kWh!!
Four years ago, our small municipal utility was 100% GHG free and 15% below PG&E in cost.
Private utilities HAVE to be municipalized.
This is absolutely no different than ICE vehicles. People run out of gas, too. There is nothing unique to electric vehicles about human failure to plan.
My gut had me wanting a gasoline powered car in cold climes until my friend (who lives in North Bay) bought a Tesla and insists that it works just as well in a cold climate, across all use cases, as a gasoline powered car. He is an engineer and extremely smart so I trust his judgement.
North Bay? Where is that? North Bay San Francisco is not a cold place.
He is an engineer and extremely smart so I trust his judgement.
there’s that word again…
I think James means North Bay, Ontario. It can get a bit chilly there. Minus 20C would not be too unusual there.
True that when it’s -20 F outside all vehicles perform poorly. We have to plug in our gas powered vehicles during the winter. But I can leave my truck (and most importantly heater) running while I fill up and get on my way. Not sure how you are supposed to handle that with an EV. And we have months here where the temperature doesn’t break 0 F, let alone 32 F. It’s a real issue.
I think EV currently make great sense in urban/suburban environment. But in a large area of the west best you can do is a two car families having one EV and one ICE vehicle.
Yves’ point is that if you are caught on the highway in an winter storm, an ICE car will run the heater until the gas is all consumed. Whereas a battery-powered car may run out of energy – and stop heating the car – much sooner.
There is a fourth consideration, too: fire. Gasoline and diesel fires are relatively brief. Either the fuel all burns or the fire is extinguished by firefighters who are equipped to put out the blaze. Batteries burn longer and more fiercely, and have a tendency to re-ignite. Most fire trucks (I am a volunteer firefighter) are not equipped to deal with battery fires.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my Chevrolet Volt.
But, even on a cold day in Los Angeles California, I lose 7-10% of battery life as reported by the “Guess-o-meter” on my dash board. Usually, with full charge rangeis 51-56 (extrapolating from previous days driving habits I assume). On a cold day, it can be as low as 46 miles.
It’s not a problem here. I can still go to and from work, grocery store afterward, and put it on charger overnight to be full in the morning.
But, you can’t depend on that in cold climates without a regular, predictable commute.
Car vacations have become mostly a thing of the past now that our children are young adults. We drive to visit our daughter a couple of times a year (about 5 hours of highway driving) — my wife maybe adding one additional trip there on her own annually.
Other than that, all driving is pretty much within a 40 minute radius. We probably should go electric when the time comes (pretty soon) to replace one of our cars (12 and 13 years old respectively) but availability, price, and wife’s comfort level with such a transition will be important factors in that decision.
I generally only drive to the local Big Smoke (Visalia) in my smoke belching 13 year old chariot of fire, after combusting that is.
When we do go on longer drives its always quite a distance, we were out by Las Vegas recently, and i’m headed to Mammoth for something i’ve never done before, May skiing at a resort, and conditions look to be surprisingly good, more like what you’d expect in March.
About 1/10th of my driving is when 4 wheel drive is required, i’m not sure what’s what as far as 4WD electric trucks with high clearance, but that’s what I need, and am completely satisfied with my ride now approaching 200k miles.
VMT in line with the gas chart…
I’d like to see electric demand for the same time periods. If it’s way up, then that means EV use and opening up. If not, then it’s the economy.
From the 1950s on, cars were at the heart of America with ‘driving season’, drive-in cinemas, suburbia, drive through banks & stores, driving lessons in school, kids getting their drivers lícence and their first car, road trips, etc. It may be that this way of life is slowly disappearing and all these EVs are is just a futile attempt to keep it all going on. So in the long run it will not matter if it is gas or EV cars as most of the activities associated with them are all going away-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdtBEV9khEc (8:01 mins)
We still have a drive in near where I live which has stayed remarkably popular and was able to switch to digital projectors a few years ago. Going there is a profoundly 20th Century experience right down to the taste of the food and drinks. The only noticeable change is the absence of the speaker my dad used to have to hang on the driver’s door. We don’t get out as much as we used to, but when we go to the drive in we take my ’68 Plymouth Fury which completes the whole time warp feeling. My partner’s daughter was majoring in film before the pandemic and she really appreciates getting to experience going to the drive in while she still can.
I see a lot of young families at this drive in and saw many of the same people each time we were there. This drive in may hang in there longer thanks to community support. It’s also way cheaper than going to an indoor movie theater.
Great video Link!
I remember those times vividly. I was actually in many of those locations in the 50’s. I was able to identify every one of the cars in the video. Gas was regularly 25 cents a gallon (sign on Indian Reservation indicates 28 cents).
The location of the Rambler auto is somewhere along the Angeles Crest Highway above LA. (The Rambler was considered and inferior car ;) Station wagons were quite popular (large families then).
What is NOT shown in the video are freeways; there were few to none at the time. Distance travel was done on two-lane, unprotected US Highways (Route 66, 99, 101 in Calif.) at slower speeds. These routes went straight through the business section of most rural towns as shown in the video.
I remember traveling in the rear seat of my grandparents Cadillac (SoCal to San Francisco) along Hwy. 101 without being on a freeway. The view of the California coast was stunning at ~ 50 MPH. We stopped in San Luis Obispo to rest and stretch: it was quite rural and mostly ranches (no wineries). Very different experience today.
However, the air pollution from cars of that era was what catalyzed the push for better engine performance and the modern thin metal and plastic (light weight) aerodynamic vehicles. (And consequent 70 MPH freeway speeds.)
As indicated in the video the boys on the tailgate of the 1956 Ford station wagon would be in their 70’s today.
If you liked that video, then you might like some of the other videos that they have on their channel-
Check out J. J. Flink’s book The Automobile Age, being a serious cultural history of the automobile and analysis of “the social effects of ‘automobility’ on workers and consumers”.
I live in north central Kentucky and worked in Lexington before I retired. Out of control rent in Lexington caused me to buy a house cheaper in Paris than it was to rent in Lexington in the summer of 2007 just before the bubble burst. Retirement cut my driving about 50 percent. The pandemic shaved off another 25 percent which has never fully recovered. My driving is now basically driving two or three counties away to take care of my mom, and trips for necessities. My partner also no longer works in Lexington and her driving is in less than ten mile radius of her part time jobs. We haven’t been on a long trip since we had to go get her daughter when the universities shut down for Covid.
I see Teslas frequently in and close to Lexington, not so much when you are in the rural agricultural areas and the majority of people couldn’t afford one even if there were more charging stations. Range anxiety would be a very real concern here. People are sticking with or reviving older vehicles because anything late model or brand new that is more fuel efficient or better on emissions is too expensive.
We don’t see ourselves switching to electric, my newest car is 21 years old and gets 30 mpg highway. Car payments are now in mortgage territory and paying the mortgage comes first. I can at least fix the old cars in my garage and keep them maintained.
Sign of the times.
Given that most trips* for most non-urban people are less than 35-40 miles, there is a huge potential market for a small, cheap electric vehicle that recharges in one’s garage overnight. This assumes a second “good” car for those longer, occasional trips (vacation, family visits, etc.). The obstacles to this attractive option are: 1) the deep-seated psychology of Americans against what used to be called “Mickey Mouse cars”; 2) the costly safety regulations that would apply**; 3) the fact that most of these vehicles are/would be made in China and India. There is a precedent, however, in the adoption, beginning in the 1960s, of VW bugs by some segments of the American population–cheap and easy to fix. (I was an owner of two). Maybe the under 30s will start this trend, even though they are not the two-car family unit that would be the ideal target audience.
*too lazy right now to look up the specific data
**especially given the damage that the most current monster trucks could inflict in a collision, (but that goes too for “regular” cars today
This assumes a alternative fossil fueled “good” car for those longer, occasional trips, which in my case I would rent, or long distance public transport with convenient local transport capable of closing the last mile. This is why electric cars a hot item in China.**
**Zipping along at 350 km/per hour with toilets, food, and the ability to get up an stretch walk around beats driving in traffic, getting an affordable taxi /non-uber uber, or often enough a bus/subway/tramway. It solves 99% of that long distance need, and the other 1% can rent if they know how to drive, without the hassle of trying to park a car and not get it towed.
Down from two ice cars to one now. We both have retirement jobs which have moved on line. The car doesn’t move for days.
An angle not discussed much:
The internal combustion engine solved a major problem for petroleum; that is, when refining oil for other products, the molecules (fractions, in the parlance) that are blended to create gasoline are inevitably produced. Obviously, we can’t just dump them in the nearest river any more.
Some of the other refined products, such as kerosene (aka jet fuel), diesel (needs no introduction), home heating oil, and bunker fuel (which not only drives steamships but also heats large urban buildings) are not as easily done without.
And, in much of the world, the petrochemical industry gets the chemicals needed for plastics and most agricultural chemicals, from petroleum (due to the high price of natural gas). (Not to mention synthetic fabrics and a host of other materials.)
Say what you want about plastic, can you name any one who is working on the problem of 21st century medical practice that uses no plastic? I’ve never even heard of anyone addressing this.
Eliminating gasoline without non-market planning will create as many problems as it solves. I personally would not mourn a world without airlines but I’ll bet TPTB will not tolerate it.
Late to this, but I had an early train trip this morning and a taxi ride with colleagues to a meeting in Ireland’s second city, Cork. One of my colleagues is a bit of a petrolhead and asked the taxi driver about the unusual taxi, he’d not been in an MG before (the old British badge having been bought up by a Chinese company). The taxi driver described it as a ‘beast’ of a car and the best thing he ever bought. Its a mid sized sedan EV. He said it has around 400-450km range, more than enough for a typical days driving around the city and surrounding villages, including a 120km school run he does every morning. He said he charges it overnight and when he goes home for lunch plugs it in as a top-up. He said he calculated the daily cost by comparing his before and after electric bill. It costs him 7 euro a day (this during a time of extreme high electric costs). He described the 25,000 km service as a waste of time as the only thing that needed checking was the headlight alignment. He then had a little rant about the annual government safety check needed for a taxi.
I have to say, it was a super smooth ride and there was plenty of room for us four passengers. I’ve been in many Chinese built cars before and I’ve never been impressed with build quality – but the MG was entirely different, its clearly very well built, I would never have guessed that it wasn’t German or Japanese just from sitting in the rear passenger seat.
MG is making quite a name.
I had a discussion with renewable energy installer about getting a Tesla power wall to time shift our supply and use off-osak (night rate) electricity (I started to pair this with rooftop solar but ran the numbers and most of the saving was just the time shifting and the solar was an expensive boondoggle add-on!). Tesla powerwallls are 11 months back-ordered in the UK. Renewables guy said that one of the new MG models does/will serve as a home battery. Two uses in one, very cool! You can also get a model that runs your power tools if you are a tradesman or just wanting to power something in the garden….
As a Canadian with several Tesla-owning friends and family who live in severe cold winter climates, some remote even, I can say the getting stuck out in the cold has not been an issue, no more so than ICE, and probably the proof of that is how popular EV’s are in Canada. I would even say we Canadians are far more likely to get stuck than anyone else, too, as our road networks are not as developed. If it were true that this was an issue, EV’s would simply not be popular here, but they seem to be.
I think also if it were true we’d be heating our homes with oil, not electric. You go with what’s more efficient and cost effective for your situation.
Also, the grid of charging stations in Canada is even less developed than the US but this may soon cease to be a problem as a national gasoline chain, Petro Canada, has announced intentions to create supercharging stations across their entire network, which is important as Canada is mostly remote and rural.
This, by the way, will also boost the trucking industry, which it should be pointed out consumes over half the fossil fuel in both Canada and the US, if I recall.
The trucking industry has been wanting to convert fleets to electric for some time now precisely because it will reduce fuel costs but also, more importantly, will dramatically reduce maintenance costs. Truck parts are vastly more expensive than car parts, need to be replaced more often, but an electric truck will only need its tires changed.
So I would keep an eye on the charts for diesel, once we start to see that declining due to industry fleet EV conversion just think of the impact that will have on refineries. Will we start to see refineries shutting down?
I think *that* will be the death knell for fossils.
As others from CA have commented: California will not allow internal combustion vehicles after 2035. Meanwhile, the “Public Utilities Commission” is a textbook example of “regulatory capture”. It allows PG&E (monopoly) to asset-strip the infrastructure, pay it’s CEO and senior management obscene amounts of money, and price-gouge the public.
Because of faulty, antiquated equipment, PG&E has had pipeline explosions that killed people, started many wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes and killed dozens of people. As usual, PG&E was protected and no criminal charges filed. Instead, they are allowed to raise prices to pay for civil litigation due to their flagrant negligence. As a result, we pay near the highest electricity rates in the country, and they plan on jacking up the rates even more this year and next.
Meanwhile, the electricity infrastructure continues to deteriorate, and power outages are more common than ever.
On top of all this, we have the carbon footprint and toxic footprint of manufacturing millions of new vehicles, while prematurely abandoning the used ones. This is a big issue.
Where will the lithium come from? As Elon Skum said “we can coup whoever we want” to get the lithium. Bolivian pres. Evo Morales was driven from power by a textbook CIA-backed coup.
The oligarchy uses the govt. to subsidize them on the supply chain as well.
What is the carbon footprint and toxic footprint of the mining operations? What about cobalt, coltan and other rare materials? What about the toxicity of disposing of millions of used EV batteries? Who will pay for it?
So, will the Green Capitalist Revolution “save the planet”?
Subsidies, tax breaks and giveaways: companies like Tesla got huge tax breaks and subsidies and will get more. The public will pay even more taxes, get price-gouged on electricity, have to pay for a new car, needed or not, and then see the Green Capitalist Oligarchy get subsidies and tax breaks.
As usual, this is a racket, a scam and the institutionalized corruption worsens.
Personally, I do not think that electric vehicles are really a scam. I do that with the still increasing corruption and dysfunction in all levels of government that a mandated switch anywhere in a country with collapsing infrastructure including the grid, and especially the roads, is guaranteed disaster.
I lucked out on getting a hybrid a few years back and I do not think it likely that it will happen again. With proper care it could last two decades; yet, my state is pushing for the elimination of ICE cars because it supposedly will help the planet while making no provisions either with the corruption of the utilities or of making sure that everyone will be able to get a replacement.
I can say that it would make me push hard for the removal of the ruling party if they do not deal with this apparent own goal of theirs. But it seems like Governor Newsom and his friends don’t care. I think that they should be made to care and to regret any payoffs that they received for this.
I agree, it doesn’t have to be kleptocracy, but it is. As far as removing the ruling party: Like Bill Clinton reacted years ago when he was warned that his policies alienated his base: He replied with a chuckle “what are they gonna do, vote Republican?” The joke is on us. Democracy is a quaint notion in theory, but we have a kleptocratic oligarchy. The politricksters have been long bought and paid for.
I live in a very rural place surrounded by farmland and forests. The “town” I live in only has around 500 people, and I get no cellular service where I live as it is a giant dead zone. The nearest big city, which is the one I work in is around twenty miles away. As I live in the Upper Midwest, it gets very cold and snowy during the winter. This means that a charge on an electric vehicle would be depleted after only one day’s worth of driving to work and back, give or take a few miles, to say nothing if I have to run some errands in the larger city after work. Uber and Lyft do not go out to where I live, and there is no public transportation that goes out that far.
The point is that not all of us live in temperate, coastal metropolises like much of our media and political leadership likes to pretend, and that there is a long way to go before we have a true replacement for gasoline or diesel. I think the most practical option would be to use carbon-neutral methods of manufacturing dimethyl ether, as we would still need a fuel replacement for the fuels used in mass transit and shipping, like marine diesel.
If you really wanted to get into pie-in-the-sky idealism, we should look into electrifying our freight and commuter locomotive lines, like they are doing in some countries, but if the US tried anything like that, it would be turned into another privatization scheme with nothing to show for it because of our endemic neoliberal infestation.
Ideally, the future would be long and medium distance people and goods transportation by electric rail, short distance commuting and delivery services by EV (and cut down on air transport unless electric flight can be realised, and contrails minimised). But this is never going to happen for rural areas with low population density where it would not be economically realistic to provide a medium distance rail service – even by light rail. So rural would have to be either a green no-carbon-emission fuel for ICE or maybe much better range performance from EV’s. This is possibly where China is going eventually, as they already have an extensive high-speed rail network, and they can provide this to other countries. What the increasingly hard-up west is going to do is more problematic – maybe get the Chinese in?
When I was working I drove 18k/year. When I retired that declined to 7k/year. But I recently noticed it’s down again, to 4,500/year but don’t know why.
Gasoline consumption in the United States has decreased compared to pre-pandemic levels, and it is possible that the country has reached its peak gasoline use. The reduction in gasoline purchases is mainly due to remote and hybrid work, which has caused Americans to drive less. High gas prices may also have contributed to the decline in driving. Another reason for the decrease in gasoline use is the growing adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles. Gasoline is the largest use of crude oil, and reducing its consumption can help reduce air pollutants and climate-warming carbon pollution. Although there are great benefits of decreased consumptions, there are examples of cold climate and lack of chargers that are making it hard for consumers to fully commit to a cleaner option.
Late to the party. Noodled around and here is the link to the data going back to 1998. The only conclusion I can make is that gasoline usage had returned to pre-GFC levels just before COVID-19. I would point out that when the y-axis is not chosen to exaggerate the difference pre- and post-COVID the apparent differences shrink quite a bit (How to Lie with Statistics, Part I; and yes, I did this by downloading the csv data and using Prism to graph it). Any other generalizations seem a stretch, except that the pandemic really had an effect on usage for the obvious reasons mentioned by Yves. But economists live at the margin, so YMMV.
As for the KLG household, we live less than a mile from work in each direction and have a 2011 MINI with only 42,000 miles. With the new convertible top it should last another 12 years. The newer vehicle is driven less than 1000 miles per month, including trips to the kids about 90 miles away and the occasional short trip. Living in the ‘hood, as some colleagues call it, has its advantages. But we are fortunate to have been able to make this choice. Not particularly interested in an EV, even in a very temperate climate, although one that is noticeably warmer than before. In any case, an EV where >90% of electricity is generated in coal-fired plants is not “Emission-Free” despite what the license plate says. In this community the emissions occur about 25 miles up the road at the former, so I have read, American champion at mercury emission.
Let’s remember why “the grid needs to get updated”. 1. Adding widely disbursed weather dependent energy ‘capturing’ devices (wind/solar) as opposed to consolidated baseload (Nuclear, Gas). 2. Going all-in on EVs, versus other forms of more sustainable (eg. synthetic) fuels. Should those assumptions change, the grid isn’t nearly as broken as everyone claims it is.