A gas station in New York. Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images
A new Morningstar report says that the rise of autonomous and electric vehicles may steeply cut U.S. gasoline demand in coming decades.
Why it matters: The report adds to analysts' efforts to game out how interlocking changes in mobility will affect fuel demand and, by extension, greenhouse gas emissions.
What they found: They project that the introduction and adoption of autonomous vehicle tech will cut ride-hailing costs a lot, although total vehicle mileage likely rises as consumers use ride-hailing and car-sharing more.
- That's due to miles driven by AVs with no passengers, along with ride-hailing cannibalizing public transit, walking and bikes.
- But, but, but: The growth of EVs more than offsets the rise in fuel use from more traveling.
By the numbers, per the report:
- Gasoline demand could fall by 70% by 2050.
- Ride-hailing could account for more than 1/5 of light-duty vehicle miles traveled by 2050.
- A "base case" scenario envisions a massive rise in EV sales, one that vastly outstrips the latest (and pessimistic) Energy Information Administration outlook.
- EVs could account for 45% of U.S. light-duty sales in 2050, with hybrids and plug-in hybrids taking another 45%.