Demand for Gasoline, Jet Fuel, and Diesel: Checking on the Recovery

Watching for the EV drag on gasoline demand requires a lot of patience.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Gasoline consumption in the US during the four-week period through February 5 was down by 10.1% from a year ago to 7.89 million barrels per day (mb/d), according to EIA data. Gasoline consumption has been down in the range between 9% and 13% since mid-July, following the initial bounce-back from the collapse in March and April:

That Pandemic level of gasoline consumption below 8 mb/d was something that last occurred during the 1990s.

The effects of the pandemic – massive unemployment and working from home, partially balanced by driving instead of taking mass-transit and flying – are short-term factors that have hit gasoline demand, though they too may entail long-term shifts.

But there are also long-term structural demand issues: Peak consumption just before the Pandemic was just barely above the peak before the Financial Crisis 12 years earlier, with a big trough in between:

The EIA tracks consumption of fuel in terms of product supplied by refineries, blenders, etc., and not by retail sales at gas stations.

The structural demand issues become clearer when gasoline consumption is seen in light of population growth. On a per-capita basis, gasoline consumption peaked in 2004 at 477 gallons per person during the year, using Census Bureau population data. This includes gasoline consumption by commercial vehicles, such as delivery fleets, and by taxi and rideshare operations. By 2019, it had dropped by 8.8% to 435 gallons per person. Then in 2020, it plunged by another 13% due to the effects of the Pandemic, to 378 gallons per person, down 21% from the peak:

Watching for the EV drag on gasoline demand. Not yet visible.

The big structural issue facing gasoline consumption years down the road is the increased use of EVs. They will eventually make a visible dent into gasoline consumption as they replace internal combustion engine vehicles one by one. But it will take many years. A number has been thrown out there to end ICE vehicle sales: 2035. Even if that’s the final word, which I doubt, then it would still take 20 more years from then on to age out most of the remaining ICE vehicles in the fleet.

So the impact of EVs on gasoline consumption is going to be gradual and should become visible over the next few years, but in baby steps.

And it should be accompanied by a visible increase in electricity consumption. But that hasn’t happened yet either, not even in California, the hotbed of EVs in the US.

In California, electricity sales to end users have been falling since 2008, driven in part by the widespread change-over to efficient florescent and LED light bulbs and other efficiency measures. In 2019, the latest data available from the EIA, electricity sales to end users in California — such as households, businesses, government offices, schools, and, well, EV charging stations — fell to 250,378 gigawatt hours, the lowest since 2003:

Rising electricity demand would be the best thing that could happen to electric utilities. They have been mired in a declining industry for over a decade. They’re praying every night and every day for the soonest possible massive arrival of EVs to pull them out of this morass.

What is ideal for utilities: Demand from EVs would largely occur at night when people top off their EVs at home to replace the juice they’d used for the 20 or 30 miles they drove during the day. At night is when utilities sit on costly idle capacity, and EVs would allow utilities to utilize the idle capacity at night and make some money on it.

Jet fuel demand still in a depression.

Twelve months into the Pandemic, airlines are still struggling with a 60% to 65% collapse in the volume of air travelers, and they’re flying far fewer passenger planes than they used to fly, and many of those flights are far from capacity. Some airlines, including Delta, are still blocking the middle seat. The saving grace has been red-hot demand in the airfreight business.

And jet fuel consumption for the past four weeks through February 5, at 1.08 mb/d was still down 33.6% from a year ago:

This consumption level of 1.08 mb/d, despite the bounce-back after the initial collapse in March and April, is still below the 30-year data range. Note the drop after 9/11, and the second drop during the Financial Crisis. It took till 2017 before the pre-9/11 peaks in 2000 and 2001 were seen again:

During each crisis, the airlines get rid of their oldest most inefficient planes up front – they retire them, they sell them for freighter conversions, they sell them to whoever wants them, or they leave them parked in the desert, but they don’t fly them. They fly their most efficient aircraft with the lowest operating costs. And as demand recovers, they take delivery of aircraft they’d ordered years earlier. And the industry’s overall efficiency goes up – and jet fuel demand takes a hit.

Distillate demand has fully recovered but remains below 2007 peak.

Distillate includes a broad range of fuels, dominated by diesel for trucks, locomotives, and equipment for construction, agriculture, oil-and-gas drilling, mining, etc. It also includes fuel oils for heating and utility-scale power generation. And distillate demand has now fully recovered.

The four-week moving average of consumption through February 5, at 4.1 mb/d, was up 1.9% from the same period last year and has been in the positive range since before the holidays, as the transportation sector has been reeling under the onslaught of demand from ecommerce, and more generally from the shift by consumers from spending money on services – such as flying – to spending money on goods. And goods have to be transported:

Nevertheless, peak distillate consumption on an annual basis was in 2007, as demand from power plants has declined to minuscule levels:

Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? Using ad blockers – I totally get why – but want to support the site? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:

Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.

Check out these great roofing options for homes and other buildings, including multifamily, at Classic Metal Roofing Systems

  139 comments for “Demand for Gasoline, Jet Fuel, and Diesel: Checking on the Recovery

  1. MiTurn says:

    This is great stuff Wolf.

    Thanks!

    • Cas127 says:

      Yep, the real world consumption level data is very useful (contrasted with $ denominated “amount consumed” data that gets distorted by price volatility, USD degradation, etc.).

      Gallons consumed per capita tells a story reflective of large macro trends over 4 to 5 year periods.

      • Joe Saba says:

        WOLF
        can you do breakdown of distillates for each barrel of oil
        and how much EXCESS GAS is coming out of refineries
        I heard there is absolute glut of gas because diesel demand is very high
        back in 1800’s when they 1st refined they used to dump by product called gas because they wanted the kerosine

        • Wolf Richter says:

          In the US, that is an issue. But in Europe, diesel cars, which were once the majority of vehicles sold, have been on the way out for years (since diesel gate), thus gradually reducing demand for diesel in Europe. But then the lockdowns caused the many remaining diesel cars to be less active, just like gasoline cars, and now there is a diesel GLUT in Europe. A supertanker is now loading diesel in Rotterdam, according to Bloomberg, but no info where it’s going, maybe the US. This is one of the many incredible shifts of the Pandemic.

  2. MCH says:

    This is why Keystone was a bad idea in the first place.

    It would have just flooded more oil, in this case dirty Canadian tar sands oil into a world that doesn’t need it.

    • WES says:

      Keystone is all about keeping crony capitalist Warren Buffet happy. After all shipping oil by railway is far better for his bottom line.

      • MCH says:

        Forgot the Buffet angle. oh man, but he’ll refuse to carry that oil, cause he believes in the environment.

      • Freedomnowandhow says:

        touché! The big bad boogey man is out to get you! Tar Sands destroy the environment on a greater scale, at least visible. What fracking does is yet to be seen. Ah, heck there’s plenty of wide open spaces to tar sand, and no one will see it!

      • jorg says:

        buffet paid hillery 35mill obama 50 mill to not start pipeline buffet makes 500mill to 700 mill a year on hauling oil biden may have got100 mill to stop pipeline gas cost 5to 10 cent more for gas fuel out of your pocket usa have pipe lines for 100 years saves usa billions evry year go bak to pipe line trains hav avregs wrecks 5 times a year?

    • Happy1 says:

      You think that oil won’t find a way to market?

      • timbers says:

        The best place for oil is in the ground. Keep it there.

        • MCH says:

          It makes sense to transition, let’s face it, anyone who has any kind of brains knows that petroleum is a finite resource.

          It’s value in the long term, especially in generating useful materials is only going to go up. Ignoring the climate argument for a moment, purely from a conservative point of view, it’s better to transition to alternatives such solar, wind, nuclear, etc.

          The problem comes with the business interest, somehow if we can divorce the energy use portion of it and make it more like a material resource like copper or platinum, then it might make more sense.

        • LionelMandrake says:

          Can we store some in your cave?

      • Sailor says:

        Not until Canada bites the bullet and builds its own refinery in Alberta.

      • MiTurn says:

        “You think that oil won’t find a way to market?”

        China

        • Heinz says:

          China built 3 times as many coal fired power plants as entire world combined in 2020.

          China is also world’s largest importer of gas and oil.

          Clearly China is going all in on a fossil fuel energy future while the Western leaders are twisting their knickers in a knot in anxiety about the so-called AGW climate change– a straw man fallacy with only junk science to support it.

          Sorry, but green renewable energy just won’t cut it in a cooler climate future in coming decades. When western countries have lots of popsicles (frozen citizens) in that colder future they might change energy policies, but alas too late.

          When our rulers feel bold enough they will implement carbon taxes on society just to rub salt in our wounds.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          China ALSO went all in on renewables and electrifying its vehicle fleet. There are more EVs sold in China by FAR than anywhere else in the world, and China has installed more renewables capacity by far than any other country in the world.

        • MCH says:

          Yeah Heinz, that’s just bullshit. The one thing about China is ruthless pragmatism, they have an energy requirement, and they are going to fulfill it. They don’t care if it’s coal, buying oil from Iran, etc.

          And unlike the US, they aren’t pigeon holes into the whiny ass approach of “oh it must be green, because… climate change.” Or “do you know how many coal jobs that’s going to cost?”

          After all, how many solar panel factories do you see in the US. Compare that to China, it’s a bad joke. That’s the biggest advantage of being a top down authoritarian government, you can get stuff done faster, and no crybaby environmentalist or “scientists” to get in the way of progress.

          What’s hilarious is the constant attempt to lecture China about its emissions. Our so called leaders could learn a lot from watching how China has responded. And they don’t have a Greta whining about her stolen childhood.

        • go2marakesh says:

          MCH – Yeah, my understanding is they are resource poor, especially in regards to energy, and that is why they spend a lot on green energy. As well as import all the coal they can.

          Actually, they do have rare earth metals and little concern for plain old regular environmental destruction which is part of their solar success. We could follow suit by slashing environmental regulations and put up some trade barriers if we want lots of solar panel factories, right?

        • kam says:

          China’s electric vehicles are charged from 100%, the dirtiest coal on the planet.

      • Shiloh1 says:

        Take a spin on the Wheel Of Fortune:

        Ch_n_

  3. WES says:

    Other than jet fuel, I am surprised gasoline consumption is only down a little bit considering 20 million plus unemployed.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Gasoline consumption is down 10% yoy (that’s not “a little bit” in an economy where -3% GDP is a catastrophe) and is back where it was in the 1990s.

      • Depth Charge says:

        For some reason 10% seemed like a small dip to me, too. Why? Because not only are there 20+ million newly unemployed, but you factor in all the new WFH people and the nanny state screaming “don’t leave your house!” and a 30% decline sounds more realistic.

        • X-Pat DE says:

          I’d posit that although Joe Sixpack has been effectively removed from the oil equation (for the reasons you mention) the oil demand is still there from other infrastructure.
          If so, the demand from the Greens to curb Joe Sixpack’s petrol usage to “save the planet” also wouldn’t work.
          As concerns nighttime electricity. In the ’90s (in Germany) the rate was very cheap and so I had electric storage heaters installed (in an old farm house I was renovating). Less than five years later the price was elevated and effectively the same as daytime rates, making the storage heaters a massive burden on the heating bill.
          What the utilities giveth, they can also take away …

        • Lance Manly says:

          Wolf mentions the hit to mass transport.

        • Dan Romig says:

          The light rail cars in the Twin Cities are like ghost trains.

  4. rich says:

    U.S. retail gas price was $1.87 in April of 2020. Today’s price is $2.54.

    • Tom15 says:

      Yep I remember the housing collapse followed with 4+ diesel, and the canceling of my health insurance.

      Kids are grown, and no debt this time around.

    • Depth Charge says:

      I’m paying over $3 for diesel already. Bring on the high prices. I’m ready. I’m going to laugh my asz off when all these debt junkies can’t afford the $250 to fill their 50 gallon tank in their $75,000 diesel pickup. The price of those white elephants will crash just like back in 2008.

      • Frederick says:

        In 2008 when fuel went over 5 dollars in my area I just took my car off the road, turned in the plates and got a lot of extra exercise on my bike and walking to the bus stop

        • roddy6667 says:

          I noticed a scooter store opening about 8 years ago in CT. I made a note to myself that it was a flaky business that would be gone in 6 months. It’s doing a booming business. If you are working poor, a scooter that needs gas twice a month and doesn’t require registration or insurance is a valid option.

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Just wondering if you were impacted by the recent tornado on the coast of your area Frederick??

      • Swamp Creature says:

        Let gas go to $5/gallon. I could care less. Less traffic

        • Russell says:

          Huge regressive tax. Same people who say they want to help the environment don’t consider what it does to the working poor they also claim to support.

          Adding a carbon tax on top of it would only make things worse. CO2 dropping steadily in US and Europe over the past 20 years. Remainder of the globe flat outside of China.

        • Tom S. says:

          $5/gal unleaded this summer seems like a pretty nasty number to weight into the precious CPI. For a while there it seemed like gas was cheaper than bottled water.

          I’d say the potential for war coming out of this pandemic is higher than 0, I wonder what would happen to oil prices then.

    • Rcohn says:

      In northern CA , you are lucky to find regular grade gasoline below 3.10$

  5. MonkeyBusiness says:

    Quoted from OilPrice:

    “Brent crude could hit $70 or even $80 a barrel by the end of this year, one hedge fund manager says. It could top $100 next year, an energy analyst forecasts. Oil is on a tear, and suddenly, everyone is bullish. But this is probably the most fragile oil price recovery in history. Something as tiny as a virus could kill it.

    Herd immunity is the big factor for hedge funds, according to a recent Reuters report. According to them and several banks, the United States—the world’s biggest oil consumer—will reach herd immunity by the middle of the year, which will coincide with summer driving season to the benefit of oil producers.”

    Herd immunity by summer will only happen if they put the vaccine into ou water supply ;)

    • rich says:

      I believe that in January Saudi Arabia cut its oil production by 1 million barrels a day. That might have something to do with the rise in gasoline prices.

      • Millie Brown says:

        The only thing that makes oil rise is the printing press. The moment the fed turns off the printers oil collapses. Which is why the fed will never stop printing and I’ll never stop short selling USD.

        • Cas127 says:

          One of the great tragedies is how little the public has understood (for 45 yrs) about the Petrodollar “recycling” scheme.

          After the US was forced off Bretton Woods (habitual trade deficits) it managed to use its presumed military/monetary “umbrella” to get the Gulf nations to continue to always denominate their oil (most consumed commodity on the planet…picture gold with real world utility) in USD…thereby creating additional demand for USD, demand that might not otherwise exist (see habitual US trade deficits).

          (My guess is that part of the US pitch was that if Gulf oil was denominated in Gulf currencies, the “Dutch Disease”/resource curse would cause those Gulf currencies to rise so much that any other industries in those countries (especially export industries) would be destroyed due to huge currency overvaluation.)

          Petrodollars are a complicated, hazy area (not least of which because the US G has never been particularly open about it) but it is a very crucial topic because 1) an additional 46 years of trade deficits have only worsened intrinsic USD weakness and 2) the Petrodollar scheme likely operates as a model for DC’s contingency plans (if USD continues to weaken, how can USD be welded onto successor currency/commodity/etc)?

      • intosh says:

        With SA making a killing in stocks (mostly thanks to Softbank), they have a lot of headroom with production cuts.

    • Lance Manly says:

      Brent is sitting at $61, $70 is not a huge move.

      • Depth Charge says:

        Yeah, could be there in a week the way these speculators operate. They blow bubbles swiftly.

    • OutWest says:

      Only 70% and 85% of Americans need to be vaccinated against C19 to achieve herd immunity…10% have received their first shot at this point. Come April the most vulnerable among us will be vaccinated so the younger and generally more healthy masses will begin getting their shots.

      The NYT runs cover stories on a daily basis predicting that heard immunity will occur this summer based upon current science.

      I’m expecting to see consumption patterns shift once ‘heard immunity parties’ become a thing. Mine will.

      • Depth Charge says:

        I’m never getting a shot. I will let my immune system kick the virus in the ‘nads.

  6. Drunk Gambler says:

    Bullish on oil in general. First – Saudi on the move with production cuts. Second – Great Suburbia Migration force people to buy a car, like it on not. Tesla makes you wait for a while, but gasoline cars available on the spot.
    EV Revolution already here, but despite the hype, it will go slowly.
    Nice data overall…

    • Russell says:

      EVs will continue to rise in popularity until the grid doesn’t support their consumption. I see them peaking in 10 years without drastic change in technology. Can’t charge at night using solar and fossil plants are getting eliminated. Also cost of heavy metals for batteries and the environmental impact of their strip mining will finally reach a tipping point.

  7. Crush the Peasants! says:

    So the Covid19 pandemic has been good for the environment, yes?

    • timbers says:

      IMO, “Good for the environment” = eradication of the the most lethal virus in the known universe – THE HUMAN SPECIES.

      • Sean says:

        That kind of attitude doesn’t seem to do anyone any good, especially the person that embraces it. If someone truly believed it, I would think they’d sacrifice themselves for the good of the environment.

        • Depth Charge says:

          There’s a distinction between stating facts and wishing for it to happen. He’s right, the human race is a pox upon earth, destroying the habitat like no other creature. That’s not to say that I wish for the human race to cease to exist, but if it did, the earth would be more healthy for it.

        • Gordon knot says:

          + 1

  8. Paulo says:

    Let’s see, by 2035 my Westie will be 55 years old and hopefully I’ll still be young enough to enjoy it.

    Seriously, look around your house, the room you are sitting in, anywhere, and see if you can find one, just one product not made, produced, manufactured, or transported using fossil fuels. From the organic lettuce in the fridge to the white drywall in most houses, there isn’t one thing you can name.

    I don’t suppose much will change in 15 years on this topic.

    Rather than electric BAU lite, things would be much more positive with smaller footprints. Small and efficient ICE cars, revamped public transit, and $1.00 per gallon tax on gasoline as an “incentive” to reduce driving and pay for the above and more.

    People want all the luxuries, the feel good moment of being ‘the solution’, with little to no sacrifice. Not going to happen.

    Look for extreme climate change and mass migrations long before this song is over.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      15 years from now, nearly all urban delivery vans sold will be EVs and a large portion in the fleet will be EVs. EV vans are ideal for stop-and-unload-and-go routes that generally are no longer than 50-60 miles per day.

      EV vans are not as spectacular as roadsters, but that’s where the money is. There is real commercial motivation because EV vans will save delivery companies tons of money. And that transition is happening right now.

      • Sean says:

        There’s a small company named Arcimoto that has been selling light 3-wheeled EVs for local deliveries.

      • roddy6667 says:

        In Qingdao the city is switching over to EV’s. There are even electric garbage trucks. 25% of the city’s 6500 buses are battery electric (LiFEPO4), 25% diesel and 50% CNG.

      • Yaun says:

        Areas where EVs make economic sense like delivery vans will definitely see worldwide adoption. But in other areas (personal cars, longer haul freight) I doubt that adoption will go beyond the western world and parts of Asia.

        Much of the population growth this century will happen in Africa. It’s forecasted to triple and get close to Asia’s 4.5 billion end of the century. And those African countries that halfway get their act together will have a much larger (but still relatively poor from our perspective) middle class. Those people won’t drive an electric car unless technological advances in battery/fuel cell technology massively reduce the extra production costs. If that cost cannot be reduced, oil use for transportation will not go down.

      • Cas127 says:

        Wolf,

        “delivery vans”

        I think you are spot on about the far-too-underreported delivery van angle…the key is the percentage of “idling” time required (EVs/hybrids really shining there).

        But the irony is that hybrids have been capable of 75% of the gains that EVs will provide…for 20 years. And nobody was getting all hot and bothered about hybrid delivery vans.

        The US really suffers from schizophrenia when it comes to EVs vs. Long avl hybrids, EVs vs. Monster SUVs that get 12 MPG.

        On the one hand, the US chattering classes will squee with orgiastic delight about the coming of EVs (see Tesla) and then actually go out and buy the 6000 lb, 10 ft tall, Gas Eater Deluxe, Super Extended Model with Optional Stove (8 MPG).

        Or they could buy (for 20 yrs) a 40/50 MPG hybrid…that if universally used…would have slashed US oil consumption by 50% to 60%…starting in 2000…

        • Depth Charge says:

          I actually want a hybrid one ton dually 4×4 pickup which will tow 35,000 lbs just like the current diesels. The advantage of EVs is their incredible torque which is available at 100% of the peak right off the line. Give me a hybrid truck that gets 30 mpg on the highway towing that massive load. I know it’s possible.

  9. Depth Charge says:

    “In California, electricity sales to end users have been falling since 2008, driven in part by the widespread change-over to efficient florescent and LED light bulbs and other efficiency measures.”

    Duly noted, Wolf. I’m not a CA resident. It would seem they should lower the rates to bring more demand, no? Kind of pricey for a product with diminishing demand. Also seems it should be more reliable. Instead, you get massive blackouts.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      There were huge blackouts in Texas, Louisiana, etc. Why are you guys not constantly complaining about those???

      • Depth Charge says:

        Probably because the news focuses on CA and it’s the most populous state? Not sure.

      • nodecentrepublicansleft says:

        Because that doesn’t flow w/the constant narrative garbage:

        San Fran/California is awful;
        Biden destroyed the economy in a few days/weeks;
        Wearing a mask is oppression/tyranny;
        Police on protester violence = burning down of American cities;
        Corp welfare is great but helping human beings is terrible;
        Socialism! Communism! yada…yada…yada;
        Clean air/water is stupid/All regulations are bad;
        Red states are great/Blue states are terrible;
        Etc, etc.. It’s just the same old broken record from a lot of folks.

      • Russell says:

        The blackouts in Texas/Louisana last year were hurricane related from Lake Charles and a poorly designed power grid. They weren’t from too rapidly away from fossil fuels and leaving the population at risk. CAs pain is largely self-inflicted.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Russell,

          The big blackouts in California are mostly related to firestorms or threats of firestorms. Texas has hurricanes. California has firestorms. There are two seasons in CA, always have been: rainy season and fire season. That’s why comments like these, from people who get their info about California from ZH, are ridiculous.

      • SpencerG says:

        Are you talking about the ones caused by Hurricane Laura? That is quite a bit different from electrical blackouts caused by government action/inaction.

    • MCH says:

      I know why I’d complain about blackouts in CA. Especially in the bay area. I would be affected by it.

      I don’t care as much (as in at all) about blackouts in TX, LA (both the state and the city), because I remain unaffected by those.

      To put a not so fine point on it… let them eat cake, or sit in the dark, doesn’t bother me at all. And by the way,I like LED bulbs and fluorescent lighting, the problem of course is that the shelf life on those things suck, they say ten years, but it’s more like two or three… these are the FEIT or the GE LEDs, wish they’d last longer. FALSE ADVERTISEMENT.

      • Mark says:

        It’s even more false when you understand how the lifespan of CFL /LED bulbs is measured- They turn the bulb on once, and let it run till it fails.

        When you turn the bulbs on and off as any human who uses them does- it destroys the stated “lifespan” of the bulb. Winning again
        for predatory corporations.

        Not to mention how many way too expensive bulbs get broken in average handling and accidents ….. ( now where do you take the mercury filled CFL bulbs for disposal ? ) Right

        • Kenn says:

          It’s not that bad..
          CFL bulbs are no more breakable than regular incandescent bulbs, and they can be recycled at your local, friendly home store. (Look for the bins at the entry.) Most LED bulbs I have seen use plastic housings. Both use a lot less energy than old bulbs and will save you money.
          Side Note, I really dislike these new integrated LED light fixtures where you have to replace the entire fixture if the LED goes bad.

        • MCH says:

          yep, well, these guys are sure charging a bundle for LEDs, although they are much cheaper today than ten years ago. PROGRESS.

          Thanks China.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Mark and MCH,

          For quite a few years, every single bulb we use in our place has been an LED – with exception of 3 bulbs: oven, fridge, and dryer, all of which predate the arrival of cheap LED bulbs. In our experience, the lifespan of those LEDs is far superior to incandescent bulbs. Three of our earliest LEDs went out. All others are doing just fine. Compared to the era when I had to replace an incandescent bulb here or there just about every few months.

          LEDs are not expensive anymore. For example, for the heck of it, I just now priced a 24-pack of 60W-equivalent LEDs (9W) for $27.99. That $1.17 each.

        • Brant Lee says:

          My fluorescent bulbs I found for 69 cents /4 pk on special about 5 years ago last forever. No gripes about these and about 16 watts cost.

        • Russell says:

          LEDs are the way to go. Florescent just isn’t a good option – short life, mercury waste, not as efficient… The best use I found for them was over my wife’s vanity. She would turn up the A/C whenever she put on make-up using incandescent lighting. Doesn’t need to do that with LEDs. Saves way more money than any other area I use them. Also, I used to continually overload the circuit in my outdoor lighting until I switched to LEDs. Brighter lights, way less power draw.

        • el katz says:

          @Kenn:

          The sealed LED trim replacements are much more energy efficient than just putting an LED light bulb in an existing pot light. The trim assembly seals the fixture to the ceiling and reduces air infiltration from the attic / ceilings. – heat, dust, insects and all.

          We live in the desert (PHX) and I can tell you that replacing all the lighting in this house (it was a dog’s breakfast of CFL, LED, halogen, incandescent) with the sealed units was a godsend. Reduced the load on the A/C (no heat from the fixtures and reduced attic air leakage from the heat pumps drawing “makeup air” when running).

        • MCH says:

          I like the LEDs, but the ones I buy from Costco made by FEIT just doesn’t seem to last as long for some reason. I know it’s the right sockets and all, just very annoying.

          But they are much cheaper now than before. Progress

    • Sean says:

      In regards to reliability, Tesla’s battery pack in Australia has set an example. Vistra Corporation recently brought an energy storage online in CA and Southern Company is working on a couple other energy storage projects. Their benefit is that they can store excess energy from renewable sources and, when it is needed, switch it in to the grid much faster than the power plants they currently have for that purpose.

      • roddy6667 says:

        What is the cost?

        • MCH says:

          Worth it if you ask me.

          Because technology has to advance and there has to be cost initially. The most visible example of such is the two recent explosions of the SpaceX Starships, you just know Elon didn’t waste too much time asking the bean counters about the costs.

          Cause if he did, the Falcons would never be landing routinely on drone ships without fanfare today.

          Contrast that to battery tech, batteries are a bargain in consideration.

      • nick kelly says:

        ‘The dedicated battery farm can power 30,000 homes for up to an hour, which relieves the burden on the grid during hot summer days when failure is most likely’ Bloomberg

        The function of the battery is to act as a short- term reservoir, which prevents breakers tripping off and bringing down the system before it can divert from other suppliers to the grid. It is not at present an alternative to a main generator.

        Living with ONLY stored solar in a very sunny place is possible but not with the exorbitant demands of aircon, electric stoves, etc. which are probably more exorbitant in California than Oz.

  10. Mike R says:

    The massive fallacy that gasoline vehicles will end soon, or even end at all, due to EV’s, does not take into account the following little nuisance of a factoid:

    Gasoline is actually a WASTE product of a barrel of refined oil:
    47% of a barrel is for gasoline.

    The rest is for FAR More valuable products, that actually generate the bulk of the profit from a barrel of oil.

    So if you end all use of gasoline, what would you do with all the waste gasoline that HAS to be produced as a part of the refining process ?

    You can’t just turn that barrel into one of the other products, like producing All heating oil, or more diesel, or more jet fuel, or all the oil that is used to make plastics.

    So the reality is that that the price of a barrel of oil, depends on the VALUE of ALL of the products that the refined barrel produces and fetches on the open markets.

    So you can either USE that gasoline, or throw it away. Guess what ? We ain’t throwing no gasoline away. And unless some other chemical comes along to replace all that is used from that barrel of oil, to make plastics, pharmaceuticals and medicines of all types, to use to make fertilizers, and many other agricultural by products, and food stuffs, lubricants of all kinds to keep all that machinery and even EV’s still operating.

    Lastly, even if you were to vastly shrink the amount of barrels refined to eliminate gasoline waste, you have entire countries totally based on the price of a barrel of oil, and they could be totally decimated. the world wide civil unrest would be unfathomable.

    So no chance in hades are EV’s going to take away gasoline use or reduce demand for gasoline by much for the next 30 to 50 years, if that even. Maybe in a 100 years, or world will have gradually been re-shaped, with enough different alternatives to what comes from a barrel of oil, and enough different ways for those countries producing oil, to make a ‘living’ doing something else.

    And with so called ‘renewables’ at a mere 4% of producing the world’s electricity, those certainly aren’t going to replace fossil fuels powering our grid anytime soon, so that means the big bogus crap spewed about EV’s being ‘clean and green’ will soon catch up to the reality, that EV’s are nothing more than Fossil fuel belchers, that changed where the pollution emanates from the car’s tail pipe, to the fossil fuel smoke stacks. Living near any power plant, you still get screwed, emissions wise, even if its not coal. Oh, and by the way, Germany went whole hog on renewables (i.e. wind and solar) and nearly got to 50% of all power generated, before their entire grid nearly collapsed, and they had to go massively BACKWARD, and install a boat load of COAL FIRED PLANTs, and not even NG fired plants !!!

    Why ? Bc solar and wind generate inductive power, not reactive power, and its superficial, very weak, and does nothing to support the VARS, you need to run the grid at really high voltages so it has enough ‘inertia’ to maintain frequency at the voltages you need at your plugs. I’m putting it as simply as possible for those who know nothing about power generation, or power grids, or voltages, or VARs, or kw’s. So this whole renewable charade, and the climate faux change charade, can keep on a spouting out FUD, but renewables are not, and will never be any solution to that. And oh by the way, guess who keeps on building coal fire plants out the ying yang, with so many new Gigawatts coming on line, that it absolutely dwarfs the rest of the world’s , ‘pollution reductions’ many times over, to keep the planet on an ever growing output of CO2 emissions, and way more nasty pollutants than that.

    Fossil fuels are NOT going away anytime soon, Tesla or not, and EV’s or not, and global climate plan mandates or not. So try not to get too caught up in any hysteria from those gasoline demand charts. They are interesting eye candy for the moment, but not really going to be indicative of any permanent trend.

    • MCH says:

      The reason to reduce oil use isn’t about whatever climate change agenda of the day is. It’s simple conservation of a finite resource, it’s true, petroleum is never going to go away, unless people want to live in the dark ages. As much as I am about #1, I would kind of like it if the follow on generations has access to the same resources.

      Our use of petroleum has been excessively wasteful. The flaring of natural gas for instance is just stupid. The problem is not so much about not using gasoline, but making sure we capture all of the value of the oil. Transitioning to renewable is a great idea because of the conservation reason above, the problem of course is all the yapping heads on TV doesn’t know the first thing about setting up infrastructure and industries to make renewables work.

      You know who knows how to actually take action and just not talk about it? The Chinese, and a few of the European countries that actually built up industries around renewables. This is one reason why I think Elon is the right person to follow on a subject like this, the problem is all of our idiot politicians (on both sides) that actually stand in the way.

      • Nacho Libre says:

        Agree on your comments about the stupidity of politicians who unfortunately have a large part in these decisions.

        Disagree on some other comments.

        Oil is not a finite resource. It’s the cost of extraction that makes it seem finite. There is always more oil to be extracted at higher cost or with progress in technology.

        Renewable energy is not magic. Batteries need rare earth metals (finite?) and nickel – both which destroy the environment. Windmills aren’t reusable or iodegradable and go straight to landfill after death. There are flip sides like deforestation for every ‘green’ tech – biofuel, solar farms etc.

        Lot of fortune to be made in the name of ‘green’.

        • Nehemiah says:

          @nacholibre, Oil is absolutely a finite resource. Of course, you could argue there is so much of it that we will not have to worry about declining production (which is what happens to a well after about half of its oil has been extracted, and most mineral resources other than perhaps natural gas seem to follow that pattern) for a very long time, but that argument is fallacious. Aside from the fact that production will decline near or shortly after the point where half the URR has been depleted, there is the additional consideration of energy returned on energy invested (EROI).

          As the easiest oil is depleted, the remaining reserves, whatever their quantity, require more and more energy to extract. Ditto for coal, uranium, even gas. At some point, the energy provided by the remaining resources no longer justifies the energy expended to retrieve them. For example, when the energy-returned-on-energy-invested of our total energy system gets down to 2:1, our net energy return will be no higher than that of subsistence agriculture. Even before it gets that low “at the well head” it may no longer be worth extracting, since it must be transported, refined, distributed, and put to work, which requires more energy expenditure at every step. Our current level of civilization probably requires an EROI of the total energy system in the range of 8 to low teens to maintain. The exact number is a matter of debate, but below that critical number, whatever it turns out to be, things will fall apart fast.

        • MCH says:

          In the grander scheme of things, if oil was used at a moderate rate (moderate being a very relative term here), yes, it is infinite in a closed ecosphere. Because oil is essentially dead biological materials that have been decomposed, and as long as we aren’t taking too many people and animal off world, we’ll be fine. But remember, for oil to get to its present state, it take millions of years. Given our rate of usage, yes, it’s finite. Your point is also well made on cost of extraction, the reality is that no one knows how much oil there is for certain, the planet as a whole has not been fully and adequately explored. To believe all the nonsense about peak oil, is to believe that I know the exact numbers on the next lottery draw, and that I’m willing to sell it to you for a pittance of $100K.

          Your comment on renewable is also correct if you look at the supply chain, I’ve commented on this multiple times, that renewables if its totality is not that good for the environment, just look up rare earth metals, and how they are extracted, it’s an environmental disaster that the climate lobby conveniently chooses to ignore because this is done mostly in China. The nicest thing I can say about those idiots is they are either willfully stupid or a bunch of hypocrites.

          Eventually, there will be a fortune made in recycling of these finite materials. But my point stands, it needs to be a collective solution using combinations of sources, only the idiots would actually believe one size fits all. And we have plenty of those in our leadership, this is what you get when you have a bunch of uneducated bozos that gets elected to Congress and 1600 Pennsylvania. (Which renews my point about our utterly inadequate educational system that are so politics driven that they can’t even teach basic math… and don’t whine about economic hardships and inequalities, those existed in China too in the 50s to 70s (and all over the world), yet somehow they managed to adequately educate their kids, and managed to vault their economy to #2 in the span of 40 years)

        • VintageVNvet says:

          Quantity of oil is unknown, for sure, for all above:
          Been said many times, starting in late 60s era, “”END of oil.”’
          Been said by others, since and continuing, that the process, if a million years, or just a couple of months with current engineering/physics, ”could” go on for eva..
          Best point is that oil will be base product needed to manufacture many items needed for health and longevity, and, thus, a total waste to be used for fuel when SO many natural sources beckon, even with current and extensive mis-understandings of many basic concepts of physics, especially lack of follow through on the concepts Einstein introduced though did not have the time to finish to the point where we mere mortals could understand and implement.
          We lately see some young physics ”turks” following and improving his last physics theories/suggestings/proofs, and, I for one would have them be supported as needed before any others in any and every university.
          Thank you all for at least considering a future where there is no need at all for any kind of fuel except very dead and dry wood in the fireplace to watch and dream with.
          C’mon folks, the current rise of many threads of physics, math, chemistry, biochemistry, and even the ”social sciences” present mostly a long range wonderland for every species, but especially our species being able to live with peach and happiness and still take very good care of Gaia.

    • Engin-ear says:

      A lot of excellent reasoning that overlooks several fundamental points.

      1. Our global economy is *totally* addicted to oil in every significant aspect of the GDP and well-being.

      2. The physical delivery of oil is NOT secured in the long term – in price, timeness and quality.

      Sooner we start the lowering of oil consumption, better we’ll handle the end of this century.

      Everything else is secondary.

      • roddy6667 says:

        I have been hearing this since I got out of high school in 1966, yet gasoline is about the same price now as then, adjusted for inflation. There is no shortage and the environment is much cleaner.

        • Nehemiah says:

          Please examine the trajectory of new oil discovery since 1964. It is down to almost nothing, and that is not just because of the price declines since 2014. It has been a long term trend. The piddling amounts of oil we are discovering today will be most of the oil we will have to consume 40 years from now. You can’t burn what you don’t discover. Forecasting future prices and availability based on the current price of gasoline is whistling past the graveyard. The relevant information for the future is not the current price, but the current rate of discovery.

        • Nacho Libre says:

          it’s always helpful to back up claims with some links.

          When new extraction processes make economic sense, they do take off. US shale production wouldn’t have taken off at $30 a barrel. It took off when the prices punched above $60. Same with half filled wells. Until better extraction methods were invented, Aluminum was more expensive than gold. Science and technology are never settled, they improve.

          The claim you are currently making – that we will run out of oil – has been made for decades in various ways, with various charts and various models. And now with thr benefit of hindsight, we can say all that was not accurate.

          Just like Al Gore winning an Oscar and a Nobel with predictions that fell flat.

        • roddy6667 says:

          Nehemiah–I have been hearing that same tune for over 50 years. It’s a prediction of the future, a guess. Reality always contradicts it. Gas is plentiful and cheap.

    • Nehemiah says:

      Your comments are very interesting, but I think you have overestimated our remaining recoverable fossil fuel resource (the URR). Practically recoverable oil, gas, coal, and U235 are likely to be more or less exhausted by the end of the century. I imagine some countries may still be mining some dirty lignite, and tar sand reserves will not be exhausted, but neither will tar sands be capable of being ramped up to a high rate of production. Basically, what do you see as an energy Plan B when the fossil and U235 are approximately exhausted?

      Various countries have been working on the Big 3 nuclear alternatives since the 1950s (fusion, breeders, MSR/thorium) but progress has been so slow and imperfect that at this point these “alternatives” should be regarded as tech fantasies. Maybe we’ll get some miracle breakthrough, but that’s not the way to bet. Viable technologies are almost always brought to practical deployment by R&D efforts in much less time than the 65 years that various countries have been working on these three.

      So what do we fall back on if you are right about sunshine and breezes not being a viable replacement for the massive, reliable energy supplied by fossil and fission??? Are we facing the end of civilization as we have known it during the next 50 years? Did the 1972 Limits To Growth computer model of MIT’s late Jay Forrester hit the bullseye after all?

    • Kurt says:

      Mike R. Perfect. My thoughts too. Thank you. I came to the right place this morning.

    • Heinz says:

      You are talking facts and common sense– things the green energy/global warming believers wouldn’t know about.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Mike R,
      If I read this correctly, you have just produced the funniest reversal of demand and supply. You said that oil will need to be produced for all the other components in a barrel of oil (to make plastics, fertilizers, chemicals, etc.), and gasoline is just a “waste product,” but because we don’t throw away gasoline, ICE vehicles will HAVE to be built forever to use up that waste product.

      It’s funny because you got demand and supply reversed. Demand for motor gasoline comes from ICE vehicles. If they are being phased out, demand for motor gasoline will phase out too along with it. And the oil and petrochemical industries will adjust to this demand and supply situation.

      • Depth Charge says:

        I think his point is that you will have this gasoline anyway. What do you do with it if you don’t have cars burning it? Create another product which burns it? Dispose of it? How? Oil is in every single product we use every day. The computer I am typing on is made from oil – the plastics. This world economy is built on oil. I don’t think these “Green New Deal” people even understand the conversation.

        • nick kelly says:

          He has invented a private language for the term ‘waste’.
          In economic English, if the gasoline can be sold it is not waste. Sure, for one brief period it was because pre- ICE there was no use for it. Now there is and a very brisk market it is. In the present, where we are now, gasoline is not a waste product. In fact at 47% of the oil it is the main reason for pumping it and refining it.

          No doubt some other components of the oil are more valuable per ounce. The sirloin steaks on a steer are much more valuable than the chuck or blade or round cuts and the hamburger, but not only are none of the latter waste, they generate most of the profit.

      • BillTheCat says:

        From the eia dot gov website, history of gasoline:

        “Gasoline was initially discarded

        Edwin Drake dug the first crude oil well in Pennsylvania in 1859 and distilled the oil to produce kerosene for lighting. Although other petroleum products, including gasoline, were also produced in the distillation process, Drake had no use for the gasoline and other products, so he discarded them. It wasn’t until 1892, with the invention of the automobile, that gasoline was recognized as a valuable fuel. ”

        So yes, if there are no more ICE vehicles then there is far less demand, butut what do you do with the waste gasoline in the meantime?

    • NBay says:

      I’m not impressed.

      Go back to school, and become part of the Green New Industry. Leave fossil fuel in the ground to use sparingly.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current

      • NBay says:

        And, Mike R, since you are an old school AC electronics expert, here’s a basic chemical fact for ya;

        Short chain hydrocarbons can easily be made to combine. Carbon really “enjoys” making covalent bonds to itself, in case you somehow missed out on the evolution of life on this planet.

  11. Old school says:

    If politicians didn’t want to skim and micromanage everything, they could gradually phase in a carbon tax and offset it with a gradual reduction in an income tax and the market could gradually adjust to a cleaner world. Instead the DC mafia will add another 10,000 pages to the tax code to allow insiders and lawyers to profit all along the way

    • Nacho Libre says:

      Carbon tax just another way for the well-connected hustlers to get rich while leaving the rest of paying the price.

      All it does is tax domestic manufacturing while at the same time turn a blind eye on the carbon emissions in other countries.

      If you manufacture vehicle parts in the US, you get taxed. You import it from China, no tax. Even though same amount of carbon was emitted during manufacturing and an additional amount of carbon was emitted during shipping.

      It’s not just the politicians who are dumb.

      • Sailor says:

        Your fellow citizens are always the problem, because they vote for these idiots. Best you can do is find somewhere on this Earth where the local population has a lot of common sense, no respect for politicians, and which is reasonably self-sufficient. Try and pick somewhere out of the way so you don’t get invaded every 50 years – Poland and Syria would be a very poor choices, for example. In my experience, this would be somewhere that is comfortably poor, so no famines but less wealth. Less wealth means less taxability which means less government.

        • Nacho Libre says:

          USA had less government and the middle class was making great progress. Mostly because people took care of their own businesses.

          They found schools for their kids, people took care of their aging parents, saved up and paid their own doctor bills. There was strong upward mobility.

          Then the government took over parts of our lives. Promised to pay for healthcare, promised to pay for retirement, promised to pay for education. How well are those promises being kept? Now we have a population made dependent on the whims of the next set of politicians.

          These programs not just cause economic adversity (Pyramid schemes don’t fund themselves), but bad social effects too. We get divided families, poor retirees, welfare moms, kids kept out of good schools and so on.

          Every crisis is used as an excuse to further the political control and power over daily lives – even when the crisis was caused by the failed policies and ineptitude of the same government.

      • Russell says:

        Completely agree. You don’t need an external tax to manage. Let Supply/Demand dictate and the rest will take care of itself. I am glad that they are finally doing away with the Oil/Gas tax credits. They need to do the same for Solar. Supply will come when Demand requires it and it will support itself.

      • Shiloh1 says:

        Most somehow have become multimillionaires on $170,000/year. The government is not broken, it’s “fixed”.

    • flashlight joe says:

      Good idea! Delete line 1 from the Federal Income 1040 tax form (wages, salaries, tips).
      Quit taxing jobs and instead tax petroleum, pollution, pesticides, poison, and plastic.

      More jobs for everyone, less pollution

      Tax what you want less of, because that’s what you’re gonna get.

  12. Keepcalmeverythingisfine says:

    Last year the futures contracts on oil tanked so bad they actually went negative. It was weird and complex. However, the major energy companies were all in the toilet, down about 70%. I bought with both hands and both feet, and today have a 100% return on investment in slightly less than a year. There is more upside, but not huge. I spend most of my time unfortunately living in an area that is socked-in with smoke during summer due to forest fires. In winter the AQI (air quality index) is often the worst in the nation. The moral of the story? Clean air is going to get harder and harder to find and it is going to get expensive. Focus on your investments not politics, make as much money as you can, because that property with clean air to breath is going to be very, very expensive.

  13. Glass Half Empty says:

    My neighbor: “…check out my new Ford F-250 crew cab 4X4…

    Me: “Wow!..that is nice!..”

    My thought in my head: “Wow…just what you need to carry and pull nothing right before the price of gas skyrockets…f*cking idiot”

    • Thomas Jefferson wannabe says:

      Perhaps you are right. But isn’t it wonderful to live in a place and time when everyone can spend his/her hard earned money on whatever they wish. I know people who would outlaw the gas guzzlers. Thank goodness for the U.S. constitution.

    • Depth Charge says:

      Sounds like he’s out to impress – a very poor (literally) way to live life.

  14. CreditGB says:

    The looming battery disposal and pollution problem will put oil production in the dark behind the comic section on page 6c.

    Have we noticed how something as relatively simple and recyclable as a steel ship is handled in Alang? Now consider the mountains of spent LI battery materials to be disassembled and recycled…by whom, and where…Alang? Chicago? Your town?

    As far as profiteers, did we forget about John Kerry’s scheme in the Chicago Carbon Credit industry? Or has all that been scrubbed.

  15. CreditGB says:

    Oh, by the way, look around your office, your home, your car, your production plant, not only has everything arrived on a series of trucks but a large percentage of what you have and use is plastic, a petroleum based material.

    Be sure to applaud loudly as the so called environmentalist government runs the costs of petroleum through the roof. Remember a rising tide lifts all boats. Same is true of basic materials.

    • Depth Charge says:

      The oil price spike of 2008 did not get enough credit as the stake which traveled right through the heart of the US economy. The US economy runs on oil. EVERYTHING. As these speculators gin the price up, watch the economy wilt in response. Speculation in commodities is bad news.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      CreditGB,

      “…. everything arrived on a series of trucks…”

      Yes, but those urban delivery vans will be replaced by EV vans. That’s the biggest no-brainer in the history of mankind. And now all delivery companies have figured it out. And a mad scramble has broken out by new and legacy automakers to produce those EV vans. They will save delivery companies a ton of money. Amazon has taken delivery of the first of the 100,000 it ordered and is testing them in LA.

      • Russell says:

        And these vehicles will be disposable just like golf carts when their batteries die. Just wait for it…short-term solution.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Everything is disposable and will eventually be disposed of, including our bodies. It’s just a question of how long these things can provide good service.

  16. C says:

    These last two articles have been really interesting with some great debate.

    I’m back to Elon and a bigger plan. I’m thinking at some point a decentralized power grid will exist. Might this already be happening in California? Could individual solar power be a reason why we’re not seeing grid power consumption increase with so many EV on the road?

    Someone above mentioned the petrodollar and I believe this to be an important point. Expand on that concept and include the Eurodollar funding system/shadow banking and I believe a big reason for the continued use of fossil fuels is revealed.

    C

  17. Grepper says:

    It is doubtful lower rates r coming to California
    The excuse power companies especially SDGE is they have a huge fixed cost due to a sprawling infrastructure
    Certainly power efficiencies of appliances and lights have happened and that has been contributed to the power generation decline

    However the biggest contributor is probably the huge amount of residential and commercial solar installations over the last 10 years
    Those installations have gotten cheaper and will continue causing for less need of external power supply

    I dont have any have the numbers to back the above assertion but there’s no doubt there is some impact

  18. Not sure why airlines are using new aircraft. A driver who drives fewer miles is better off with an older car. The offset in efficiency is more than compensated by reduced investment, (which is why used car prices are rising) No idea how airlines buy their aircraft, why not jingle mail the keys and fly the older models?

    • MCH says:

      Cause both Boeing and Airbus knows how to leverage the classic talking points around the environment and reduced fuel burn. And I’m sure the airlines themselves are reaping the PR benefit, but they have also made calculations to see pay back based on fuel burn rate. After all, they aren’t stupid. Just see how they’ve dropped most of the current deliveries like a hot potato in the current environment.

    • crazytown says:

      Airplanes don’t work like that. All airlines are certified by the manufacturer and government for a certain number of flight hours and cycles (1 flight = 1 cycle as the cabin gets pressurized then depressurized). Some planes do hit these limits in their life – Delta in particular has had planes cycle out where they literally cannot legally fly anymore.

      Second, to stay certified planes must go through regular maintenance checks at the manufacturer specified interval. Some are quick (A checks) and happy frequently and are minor. Some (D checks) are huge undertakings, sometimes taking months, and costing millions of dollars as parts of refurbished/replaced and the plane is basically taken apart. Part of why Delta retired their 747-400 fleet a few years ago is they were coming due for big D checks. Not worth investing that money in extending the life of older planes. As a plane hit D check time, it hits the chopping block. One by one until they are all gone.

      Finally, parts availability is a problem. Engines need rebuilt. Again to Delta – the MD-88s are gone because nobody makes parts for them. A few years back, Delta put a huge order of spare parts in to stock up for the rest of the fleet’s life. Then after that order, the companies who made the parts closed up shop, and once Delta was out of parts the planes are done, unless you spend millions to restart production of obsolete parts. Same with engines – there is one shop in the world who can refurbish the engines on the MD-90 fleet, and that shop is in New Zealand. Not worth the hassle, those planes are gone now too.

  19. Mora Aurora says:

    Never hear a word about the elephant in the room, the world wide MIC (Military Industrial Complex) and its massive fuel consumptions. It would be interesting to hear some stats on that.

    Oh and all that ‘slick’ EV salesman talk. EVs are possible only if they make them light enough, meaning lots of plastic parts! Then there’s all that cheering about Space Exploration. I’ll never forget from Physics class the basics behind launching a payload and how it is achieved, that is, burn as much fuel as possible, as fast as possible and punch it through the atmosphere.

    • crazytown says:

      Not quite true, or else all payloads would be delivered to orbit on the Saturn V, the most powerful rocket of all time. Rockets do throttle down their engines to maintain the most efficient speed or else you’d just be burning fuel for no reason. Can’t disagree about the MICs fuel burn though.

      • Mora Aurora says:

        The point being, there are reasons not to cheer on and boldly go where no massive fuel guzzling agencies, their acolytes and products have gone before.

  20. Rcohn says:

    CA is by far the largest market for EVs in the US with ~ % 50 .
    Number wise that translate into ~ 675,000 EVs out a total of 36,500,000 vehicles in CA.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      At the end of 2020, there were about 835,000 plug-in electric vehicles in CA.

      In terms of sales, in 2020, 6.2% of all vehicles sold were battery electric vehicles. Up from 1.9% in 2016. So as I said, this will take a very long time. But it’s moving forward.

  21. Rcohn says:

    In 2019 gasoline represented
    19.4 gallons from every 44.7 gallons of refined products.
    Although refiners can reduce gasoline output to an extent , the amount of gasoline produced will still represent a large % of refined products .
    I have two questions for those anti – fossil fuel advocates
    A. How much will the pricing of the other refined products need to be increased as less gasoline is produced
    B. Where will the gasoline that is no longer used be stored.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Glad you’re worrying about things like that :-]

    • Prof. Emeritus says:

      Refiners can and will reduce gasoline output, as unconventional oil sources start replacing the good old light oil wells in the foreseeable future (40-60 years time, possibly earlier in the US). Heavy oils, tar, etc. yield far less diesel & gasoline, 30-40% less in some cases. It’s not the anti fossil fuel propaganda that will come up with this unfortunate solution, but the very fact that we already used up our best known oil sources and humankind will be left with pity substitutes.

  22. David Hall says:

    Miami purchased electric school buses from a company in Quebec. They can go 100 miles on a six hour charge. An e-bus may save thousands of dollars a year in fuel costs.

    Shenzhen, China has 16,000 electric buses.

    • Shiloh1 says:

      Petroleum diesel exhaust fumes are most definitely a health hazard to the school bus occupants. And most buses are idling for long periods of time before pickup, too,

  23. Still very difficult to get my head around the persistent decline in gasoline consumption, 2020 on not so hard to understand, AND THE RECENT SPURT IN GASOLINE PRICES DUE TO THE SPURT IN OIL PRICES. Haven’t heard anything about constraints in gasoline refining and don’t think there are any coal burning gasoline refineries out there that are being threatened to be shut down.

    So once again here we have the determination of price for a commodity being determined by a group of producers who could care less what Joe or Josephine have in their wallets or purses, and pull supply from the market at a time when price should be going DOWN, NOT UP. I guess like many other products out there, there is a supply chain issue with getting gasoline to market??

    Then we have the Fed, a producer of Money, with no laws or regulations, effectively, to hold it back from producing so much Dollar-based Money that the price of money (interest rates) go to ZERO, ZILCH, NADA, KAPUT! So who gets hurt in this scenario?? SAVERS, RETIREES, AND EVENTUALLY JUST ABOUT EVERY INVESTOR IN U.S. STOCKS AND BONDS because it creates an investing environment that is the most dangerous to Principal RETENTION that the world has ever seen! Ask Warren Buffet next time you see him if he agrees!

    So all of these Wizards of Oz, hiding behind the curtains so the serfs cannot see the sausage making, pulling the levels to control the price of a Product to the extent that the end-users’ well-beings are put at risk. Dorothy never gets back to Kansas in this sequel.

  24. SpencerG says:

    Reading this article from Wolf I am reminded of the changes that I have made in the vehicles I drive over my adult life.

    From 1987 to 2005 I drove a Ford Bronco (SUV)… it got about 20 miles to the gallon when I first got it but was down to about 15 miles to the gallon 18 years later.

    Then the price of gas started going up and looked like it would continue so I bought a 2001 Ford Crown Vic with less than 30,000 miles on it… which got 25 miles to the gallon (pretty good for a full sized sedan).

    Ran like a champ but in 2012 (when the price of gas was plummeting) I switched to a 2001 Chevy Tahoe which got (and gets)18 miles to the gallon. But I was no longer driving 25,000 miles per year so it worked out.

    Weirdly enough, I always seem to be going against the grain of the American auto-buying public… or front-running them maybe. They always seem to be going for gas guzzlers when I am ditching mine… and vice versa.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      SG-i hear you. Back in the early ’90’s i acquired (for $400!) an immaculate, low-miles ’72 Buick Regal wagon with a (still B-O-P, not Chev) 350 that returned a reliable 18mpg. Wagons were out of fashion, but it’s towing/cargo capacity suited my needs well and didn’t let it go (for $700, as i recall) until i moved back to CA from WA five years later. Called it ‘my amortized SUV’.

      may we all find a better day.

Comments are closed.