Rapid growth in mobility services like Uber and Didi Chuxing, combined with autonomous and electrified vehicles, will cause a seismic shift in the automotive and energy sectors over the next couple of decades.
A new study by global research firm IHS Markit states that mobility services popularized by Uber and Lyft will create a trillion dollar industry by 2040. The smartphone app-based ride services bring vastly improved mobility to countries like China and India where a growing work force wants more transport options.
Dr. Daniel Yergin, who is considered to be one of America's most influential energy pundits, headed up the study in his role as IHS Markit vice chairman.
“The growth of mobility services will lead to more miles traveled by cars and increased access to mobility via the car around the world. People will have greater access and other options than ever before,” Yergin said.
China will drive the global market forward for mobility services, according to the study. Much of that will come from being by far the largest auto sales market in the world, with the consulting firm forecasting 28 million new vehicles to be sold there next year versus 17.1 million in the U,S, the world’s second largest vehicle sales market.
Chinese giant Didi Chuxing is leading the way in that market for growth in app-based mobility services, as Uber and Lyft have done in the U.S.
Electric vehicles and development of autonomous vehicle technology are expected by IHS Markit to play a big part in the evolution of transport in China and other markets. China had more than 234,000 new energy vehicles (all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) sold from January through September 2017, compared to over 140,000 units in the U.S. market.
The study was the center of panel discussions and speaker presentations at the opening of the IEEF 2018 (International Energy Executive Forum) hosted by IHS Markit in Beijing on December 13. Related: U.S. Oil Rig Count Dips, Ending 5 Week Streak
IHS Markit sees serious challenges ahead for the oil and gas industry over this next phase. Cars used for personal transport account for more than a third of global refined oil product demand while transportation overall represents about 55% of total world consumption, according to the consulting firm.
The study, Reinventing the Wheel - The future of cars, oil, chemicals and electric power, explores possible scenarios affecting oil production and other economic factors. Growth in electric vehicle sales and usage, deployment of autonomous technologies, and declining car ownership as mobility services mushroom, raise several serious questions about the future roles of oil companies and refineries.
Rapid growth in mobility services such as car-sharing and ride-sharing in autonomous vehicles could accelerate the peak in global oil consumption, the study says. However, growth in mobility rides will likely mean a lot more miles are being put on cars each year than what’s typically done by the average car owner.
These popular new ride services will also provide trips to consumers who, a few years ago, had extremely limited access to transportation of any kind. Having access to affordable, versatile mobility options — all at the touch of a smartphone — could mean substantial growth in miles put on cars and the volume of petroleum needed to make it happen. Electric cars would have to grow by leaps and bounds to have any real impact on the future of gasoline and diesel consumption in key global markets.
By Jon LeSage for Oilprice.com
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