Oil—the raw material for gasoline and diesel fuel—is a finite resource. Most scientists believe that world oil production will begin to decline between 2005 and 2020, and some believe the decline has already begun. A decline in conventional oil production will drive oil prices much higher and make various oil substitutes cost effective.
Too sharp a rise in oil prices could damage the world economy and cause dangerous levels of economic and geopolitical tension. Slower growth in oil prices will permit substitute technologies to be developed and deployed gradually and provide time for the world’s people to adapt to more sustainable ways of life.
Transportation Drives U.S. Oil Consumption
Transportation accounts for the biggest segment of US oil consumption as shown in the following pie chart. Any program to reduce oil consumption must address transportation technologies, systems and habits. Furthermore, passenger cars and light trucks account for almost two thirds of US transportation oil use as shown below.
Drivers are already responding to oil price increases by purchasing hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius™ and the Ford Escape™ Hybrid. Large SUV sales are down and small car sales are up.
The Extreme Hybrid™ Will Make a Difference
Unfortunately, conventional hybrids that achieve 35-55 MPG will not save enough oil to prevent future oil price shocks or stop global warming, but plug-ins like the Extreme Hybrid™, which gets a majority of its energy from the electric grid, can achieve 150 MPG and could make a real difference.
This graph shows US oil use by passenger cars and light trucks in barrels per day for various fleet average MPG figures. In 2004 the actual fleet average MPG was 21 MPG, which corresponds to approximately 9 million barrels per day of oil use. If the fleet average MPG were 50 MPG (i.e., if everyone drove a Prius) oil use would drop to 3.8 million barrels per day. While that is a significant drop, it would only delay the point when world oil production declines below potential demand by a few years. A much longer delay would occur if the fleet average MPG increased to 150 MPG as might be possible with widespread adoption of plug-in hybrids such as the Extreme Hybrid™.
See Oil Consumption Model page