Exxon isn't afraid of electric cars: only 6 percent of global vehicles by 2040, it says

Despite a bit of typical oil-company bluster, Exxon may be a little bit worried about electric cars.

Not a lot, perhaps, but if you read between the lines, then maybe a smidge.

According to Energy Voice,  Exxon vice president Jeff Woodbury said recently that EV demand isn’t strong enough to put a dent in demand for gasoline.

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“By 2040, the fleet is about 6 percent EV,” Woodbury told Energy Voice, referring to the global vehicle fleet that today totals more than 1 billion vehicles.

He added that even if his company’s predictions are off and the number is actually 50 percent higher, the impact on demand is, “not substantial when you think about overall oil demand of over 100 million barrels per day, at that point.”

That’s the bluster.

Monthly gas price vs. electricity price in $/gallon equivalent 1976-2012 (Edison Electric Institute)

Monthly gas price vs. electricity price in $/gallon equivalent 1976-2012 (Edison Electric Institute)

Enlarge Photo

The between-the-lines part is that Woodbury admitted Exxon has a backup plan in case their electric-car estimates are way, way off (as others suggest).

If fewer people want to put gasoline in their cars, he said, then Exxon will just make more diesel, where demand will remain strong for many years.

Perhaps no one had mentioned to him all of the news about electric and hydrogen trucks that’s coming out recently, at least some of  which will become reality not too far down the road.

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Exxon also makes substantial money from petrochemicals, and it has yet another diversification plan in the works, which is to focus some of its research on renewable energy.

Of the billion dollars it spends on R&D each year, in fact, its projects include things like algae biofuels and electricity generated from carbon-dioxide emissions.

Last month, an IHS Markit report said less than 50 percent of all the new cars sold in 2031 will feature a simple internal-combustion engine, while hybrids and plug-in vehicles will make up at least half of the market.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Green Car Reports thanks our tipster, who prefers to remain an International Man of Mystery.]

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