Apr 17, 2020 - Energy & Environment

The post-pandemic landscape may favor cars

Illustration of a car behind a sandbag barrier.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Early evidence suggests public transit will struggle to recover from the pandemic, according to Bloomberg's Nathaniel Bullard.

Driving the news: He looks at data in post-lockdown traffic in China and finds that by early March it was above the levels from a year earlier.

  • "When we exit our however-long-it-will-be of weekdays that feel like Sundays, people will start moving again. China’s example suggests that personal car traffic will more than rebound — and that public transit will not," he writes.

Why it matters: It's an early data point in what will be a complicated question going forward, which is how the coronavirus crisis may affect long-term oil and electricity use — and what it means for carbon emissions.

But, but, but: Some analysts believe that what's now enforced behavior that cuts oil demand — notably working from home and avoiding flying — could stick around to some extent when the pandemic ends.

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