Gasoline Demand Has a Long-Term Structural Problem in the US: Plunging Per-Capita Consumption

In 2023, gasoline consumption was where it had been 20 years ago, even as miles driven eked out a record, on more efficient ICE vehicles and the shift to EVs.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Gasoline consumption in the US, in terms of product supplied to gas stations, rose by 1.5% in 2023, to 376 million gallons per day.

This was down by 3.9% from 2019 and back where it had first been 20 years ago, in 2003, with two big troughs in between.

Gasoline consumption is determined by miles driven, which eked out a record in 2023, the growing efficiency of gasoline-powered vehicles, including hybrids, and the large-scale transition to EVs (the #2 bestselling model in the US in 2023 was an EV).

Per-capita gasoline consumption makes the scenario even clearer. As the population has grown over the last two decades, while gasoline consumption has gone nowhere, per-capita gasoline consumption has plunged by 15% from 2003 and by 21% from 1978:

The number of miles driven by highway-legal vehicles of all types – cars and light trucks, buses, motorcycles, delivery vans, medium-duty and heavy trucks – rose to 3,264 billion miles in 2023, squeaking past the prior record of 2019, according to estimates by the Department of Transportation. There are a lot more people, but they’re on average driving less:

Average fuel economy increased by 42% over the past 20 years, and average horsepower increased as well, thanks to technical innovations that made today’s ICE vehicles more powerful and more economical than ever before.

Since 1975, fuel economy for highway driving doubled from 14.6 mpg to nearly 30 mpg in 2023!

The growing efficiency of ICE vehicles has been a drag on gasoline consumption – a good kind of drag on gasoline consumption, caused by technical innovation.

The rising fuel economy of the vehicles in the national fleet has occurred despite the increasing popularity of trucks and SUVs that has years ago surpassed sedans. Note the progress since 2003:

And EVs are playing an increasing role in the reduction of demand for gasoline. In the US overall, EV sales rose to a share of 8.6% of all new vehicle sales in Q4, according to Experian.

In California, the largest vehicle market in the US, sales of new vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) of all types, including hybrids and plugin hybrids, have plunged by 30% since 2016, according to registration data. At the same time, EV sales have soared. And the share of EV sales reached 21.4% of total sales in 2023.

This shift to EVs is working itself very gradually into gasoline consumption, pushing it down, and into electricity consumption, pushing it up. And the grid can handle the EVs just fine, even California’s grid, as we’re finding out. The electric utilities love it. Their sales go up, and they finally get to make some revenues at night on their huge amount of idle capacity as EV owners top off the batteries at home.

With less demand for gasoline domestically, the US has become a significant exporter of gasoline, even states such as California. Exports of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel accounted for about 21% of the record 10.1 million barrels per day of crude oil and petroleum products that the US exported in 2023.

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  215 comments for “Gasoline Demand Has a Long-Term Structural Problem in the US: Plunging Per-Capita Consumption

  1. John says:

    Look for EV registrations to flatten out before going down in the coming years. There’s still some momentum, but it’s fading fast and ICE registrations will keep going up, because ICE cars are a better product for the consumer, and a better choice for the environment. By 2030 the only electric vehicles you will see on the roads will be hybrids, and a few Tesla’s, which will be a shadow of their former glory.

    • rodolfo says:

      I’m looking at ev small cycles. If I can reduce trips by combining errands and bussing some I can cut down even more on gas expense.
      Getting an 800cc suzuki car has really helped also.
      No tesla in my immediate future.

      • KGC says:

        My short trips are by e-bike, and I can put that on a train and explore also. Train anywhere in Germany is 49 euro / month. I keep the car for bad weather and long trips across boarders.

        I’ll look at an EV when they make a small 2-seat sports car / roadster.

        • Absur Ditty says:

          I’m incensed you can be so flippant about mowing down boarders with your car. This is why cars need to be banned. Cars bring out the violent side of people.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          Normally I don’t have a lot of patience with the comment-typo police, but this is hilarious.

      • Jon says:

        Sorry for spelling mistakes..
        I am clumsy over my mobile.

      • Jon says:

        One more thing..
        If I charge I charge at night and it cost me 12c per kwh .. translates roughly to 12c per 4 miles.

      • Kent says:

        EV motorcycles have been a tough nut to crack. A motorcycle frame just can’t carry a large battery like a car can. And the heavy batteries require heavier frames. So you end up with a very heavy motorcycle with a small battery and a very short range. Though super quick, the more you lay on the throttle the less range you get.

        I tend to think a better solution is kind of 3 – tier: a higher end electric bike for around town with some exercise, a smaller (650cc – 900cc) motorcycle for longer commutes and fun, an EV for everyday needs, and give your wife a hybrid to use for trips.

        Throw in a 30 ft Catalina for sailing the coast just to top off the cool factor.

        • The Struggler says:

          The E-Bike revolution is just beginning IMO.

          Bafang has been working on a motor with an internal gearing/ transmission. I have a 1000w motor that will go 20mph, but maybe only 40 mile range.

          With a 3-speed equivalent motor I imagine both speed and range would increase.

          Also there are a variety of “townie” type EVs that are oversized golf carts but can carry 4-6 people (at a limited top speed) Or groceries etc.

          People who live in cities are not into vehicle ownership as much due to the carrying costs (a cousin in Chicago ditched his car for several years in exchange for the bike/train: parking tickets were killing him!).

          Innovation is real, and effective!

          With gearing

        • Art says:

          …or manufacturers come up with a quick swap technology for bikes. They are stored and swapped at gas stations or convenience stores.

        • NBay says:

          Saw TV doc on those in Taiwan……good sized scooters, easily haul 2 people and had shopping storage….real popular! Had paired (to make them easy to lift) batts that just dropped right in under seat after you traded in your discharged ones.

          Also have wondered what STOPPED the little “townies” Struggler mentioned. 35mph and would get everything everyone in my 250 unit hotel style apts needs. Saw last one ten years ago. Someone’s palm is getting greased by car makers, I think. The idea of driving is NOT to crash, not crash and walk away. Get a roll cage and a 5 point harness installed if you are extra scared (the same goes for ALL cars…your life is worth an extra minute or two, right?…..just like race car drivers….they don’t have airbags and easy in and out seat belts.
          Hell, wear a helmet, too.

        • NYguy says:

          I have an electric dirt bike, fun as heck and i must admit the range is more than I thought it would be as these companies tend to over promise and under deliver. You could shave a 1/3 of the battery and weight of the bike and it would still be great and even preferable but `murica is all about the biggest, fastest, mostest, etc and so the industry is going where the most demand is. I see a lot more people using them to get around in nicer climates like where I am.

        • wayne says:

          Check out Zero Motorcycles
          170 mile range
          1 hour charge
          over 100 mph

        • Prof. Emeritus says:

          Tough nut to crack? Look at the Californian Sur-ron scene – sometimes hundreds of these bikes storm the streets. And all of them are young riders, not your average Harley Davidson grandpa-meeting. Conservative manufacturers were of course looking to make long-range heavy EV motorcycles, but much like the post-WW2 military bike designs were replaced with smarter two-wheelers, out-of-the-box thinking once again proves to create a new market.

    • Jon says:

      I have only evs the moment and I have eva for last 10 years or so

      So far I have driven them in total 120k miles with absolutely no maintenance other than tires and tire rotation

      I also don’t pay for charging as it is free at my workplace.

      I may not ever go back to ice.. hybrid may be..

      • MM says:

        How do you go 120k miles without needing new brake pads, coilovers, ball joints, wheel bearings etc?

        • TR says:

          Multiple vehicles

        • drg1234 says:

          Sell one car after 60k miles.

          Buy new car.

        • MM says:

          But buying a new car every 60k is worse for the environment.

        • MarMar says:

          It hass regenerative braking, so the brake pads are needed much more rarely.

        • MM says:

          But what about all the other parts of the wheel & suspension?

          In my area, coilovers only last 40-50k miles because the DOT destroys the roads every winter. New England roads are the worst – especially closer to Boston.

          I see lots of Teslas in town, but have never had a chance to ask the owner how well they’ve faired with all the potholes.

        • The Squeezed says:

          Spot on, going electric doesn’t change the suspension and adds wear to the tires.
          Breaks are rarely used due to regenerative braking and single-pedal driving. This by the way is the one thing that converts most non-believers, even before they see the numbers on fuel and maintenance.
          Tesla has had some problems with suspension, most covered under warranty. I’m currently driving a Model 3 that sounds like a creaky old wagon from 1814. The bad design of the upper control arm allows water to infiltrate the ball joint. Tesla has been re-lubing and poly-coating that part to push repairs outside the 50K warranty window. That said, it is a small expense and will not greatly impact my cost of ownership numbers.

        • NBay says:

          Don’t hit the FN curb.

        • Eider says:

          What do you do to your car that you need new ball joints and wheel bearings at 120k miles?

        • Jon says:

          Fold are right here.
          I had multiple evs.
          Max u have gone on a single ev is 60k miles.
          I have friends with 150k plus Miles with no maintenance other than tires.

          Of course other items like suspension would wear out like ice cars.

          But having no transmission and engine vibration may also help other parts last longer .

          I am not smart enough to make a call if it is really eco friendly.

          I bought evs as I liked the appeal.

        • Stan Sexton says:

          Regeneration and One-Pedal driving on EVs minimizes brake use. Even my Prius has gone over 100k on original brake pads. My last Prius went over 200k on original suspension. Mostly freeway driving in SoCal. I have 23 solar panels with a Tesla controller for charging the EV.

        • David_Cary says:

          My Tesla got totaled at 110k miles. Original everything except door handles, 12V battery and battery heater.

        • Dog says:

          I’m a little late to the party here but my 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid just hit 250k miles with the original brakes, suspension, wheel bearings, ball joints, window regulators, electronics, etc. Modern cars can last an extremely long time!

          Only thing that’s ever broken was an inverter–it was a fraction of the cost of a transmission, which kills probably two thirds of gas cars these days.

          I work in the industry and I think Hondas and Toyotas are some of the highest quality consumer goods you can buy, period.

    • grant says:

      Lol, people like you have been singing the same “EVs are doomed” song for 15 years. How many more decades of people buying millions of EVs will it take for some people to accept that their own personal biases don’t -really- control what the rest of the world wants?

      This stuff ranks right up there with “the internet is just a fad, telephone calls are better than emails!”

      • Paul says:


        I have street parking only but can get charging. It’s amazing. PHEV are awesome.

        It was more expensive. But it’s a blessing not going to a gas station every week.

        EV is the growth. ICE will exist forever but have no limited potential.

        • Tankster says:

          It’s too bad that “The Powers That Be” is moving to straight EVs. My wife’s Voly has a 17 Kw electric plug-in that is good enough to go 42 miles and drive anywhere on gas. Large batteries are expensive and don’t address range anxiety. Most city driving could be all-electric and plugged in at home at night. Smart grid. Win-win.

      • rodolfo says:

        Cycles = motorcycle

      • Cliff says:

        Nonsense. No one said evs are doomed, he said registrations will decline. People bought into the hype, discovered it was too soon to own an EV and many are dumping them. Meanwhile dealers not named Tesla can’t sell them and are shifting their focus back to ICEs. It’s not doom it just means they’re not for everyone. Maybe in 50 years they will be but not today.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          It’s just wishful thinking that somehow persists even after a decade of the surge in EV sales at the expense of ICE vehicles. “Next year” is always the year when all the EV fanboys bought all the EVs they can handle, and then EV sales will collapse or whatever, year after year. Give it up before it gets too embarrassing LOL

          Now the #2 bestselling model in the US and the #1 bestselling model globally is an EV.

        • rojogrande says:

          Cliff, Nonsense?

          Try reading John’s comment again, but this time read the whole comment. John’s final sentence says: “By 2030 the only electric vehicles you will see on the roads will be hybrids, and a few Tesla’s, which will be a shadow of their former glory.” In other words, John said EVs, other than a few Tesla’s, are doomed. Other commenters replying to that assertion is not nonsense.

      • Escierto says:

        I think he is a shill spouting a script.

      • billytrip says:

        It amazing. I even hear totally non-scientific bs about why EVs don’t really help the planet. Pure horsecrap.

        I’m sure a lot of people really didn’t care for the new “automobile” in the early 1900s. It didn’t matter then, and the EV luddites don’t matter now.

        • Hank says:

          Interesting that in the 1900s half the cars in the U.S. were EVs. GM sold electric cars until 1927. The combine of J.P. Morgan and Thomas Edison pushed EVs and tried to stop Ford from selling more capable and lower cost gasoline powered cars.

      • James@58 says:

        You talk like an eliteist. The average American and ICE enthusiasts know, The Big Three are not capable as they’ve already shown, of making desirable electric cars. They’re all cutting back on electric cars because nobody can afford them. You think Tesla’s going to make a $20,000 electric vehicle that all these people want and can afford to buy. Give me a break

    • Einhal says:

      A little early in the morning to be sniffing glue, isn’t it?

      • Softtail Rider says:

        Those sniffing glue ruined glue production and usage. I used “hot fuel” glue in my youth for model airplanes, noticing then it was only safe in a ventilated space. Later when “plastic” pluming came along I liked how it fused the pieces together. Once the sniffers came into play it began to fail. Now have a vent in the attic which leaked rainwater until I placed a cover over the outlet. Much the same with the EV’s once it becomes evident the added costs and hazards are in play.

    • Max Power says:

      Not necessarily. It all depends basically on one factor – the cost of batteries, which were in a steady decline until the pandemic when that decline trajectory slowed down significantly. If the decline were to speed back up thanks to continued technological innovation and increasing economies of scale with all the new battery factories coming online, then it is within the realm of possibility for EVs to become price-competitive with ICE vehicles at point-of-sale towards the end of the decade. When that happens, EVs will undoubtedly take off in a big way. At the end of the day, people vote with their wallet.

      I say all this because there really isn’t any technological innovation on the horizon that will reduce the cost of ICE vehicles, but a path for further reduction in the production costs of EVs is certainly possible, if not likely.

    • Cem says:

      Hot take, also an incorrect one.

    • Arthur says:

      Possibly true, but Wolf Street is full of EV fanbois, so you won’t find much agreement here. EVs do have some advantages, but I agree ICE is overall a better option. I have no objection to EVs per se, but when busybody politicians talk about banning ICE cars, it becomes imperative to oppose mass adoption of EVs to preserve freedom of choice.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        “…it becomes imperative to oppose mass adoption of EVs…”

        Is that why so many folks try to abuse my site to spread these stupid anti-EV lies and braindead anti-EV BS — “to oppose mass adoption of EVs…”?

        I mean, in theory they could just not buy an EV. They can move out of those states where EV mandates might start in a decade, or they can buy a new ICE vehicle in 2034 just before the EV mandates kick in and drive it for 30 years, which will get them to 2064, or they can buy a used ICE vehicle in those states after the EV mandates kick in, no problem. But no, they have to pollute the comments of my site with anti-EV lies and BS to accomplish their political objectives?

        Thank you for this insight. I wasn’t sure what motivated the army of anti-EV-BS-mongers to swarm onto this site to spread their stupid lies every time “EV” shows up in the title or subtitle. This has been going on for a decade. Your insight helps in understanding this crazy phenomenon.

        My understanding is that the WSJ, Bloomberg, CNBC, et al. spread anti-EV BS because it works as braindead clickbait that people spread around, including on this site, and because they’re beholden to the oil industry. That makes sense. But I always wondered why here in the comments.

        (Note: I delete a huge amount of anti-EV lies. I only allow a small portion. If you want to spread anti-EV lies, do it somewhere else, you’re just wasting my time and filling my trash can with rotting garbage).

      • rojogrande says:

        LOL, isn’t that the “we had to destroy the village in order to save the village” logic. We must oppose mass adoption (people exercising their right to choose what’s best for them) in to preserve freedom of choice.

      • David_Cary says:

        I’ve never been to this website before. 2 Teslas in the household. All electric household for 9 years.
        The world is full of EV fanbois because they are better. Inhale your fumes, deal with cold weather poor performance, waste time at gas stations and with oil changes etc etc

        • JimL says:

          Better based on your criteria.

          For some people, ICE or hybrid cars are better based on their criteria.

          Granted, I believe EVs are a better option for a growing percentage of the population, but to say one is absolutely better than the other is not understanding the world beyond yourself.

      • NBay says:


        You buy EXACTLY what the corps and their advertising have decided to sell you…to the benefit of the top managers and investors……..END of “choice”story.

        But some or all are gonna pay for this “escaped” capitalism/corporatism……and soon.


        • NBay says:

          Have a hunch 2024 will scare a lot of people…..but then I’m scared already……diagnosis probably in the DSM-5 somewhere.

    • vvp says:

      AN radio is a fun story people tell each other. It isn’t meant to be taken seriously.

    • ChS says:

      Another, more likely, scenario is that EV’s get 900+ mile range and 10-15 minute charge times. In that event, ICE passenger vehicles become obsolete.

    • Clykke says:

      Electric technology is only improving with time. While the infrastructure is continuing to build. Electric charging stations are now shown to actually be profitable in many states which will only improve access to charging stations. Many countries (eg China, Norway among others) have had a huge increase in adoption, others have big plans to.

      US exceptionalism is strong, but the trend is only going in one direction. If the rest of the world, and states such as Illinois, California, New York switch over to electric, its only a matter of time till the other states do also. It’ll take some time, and hybrid cars may well go through a renaissance in the meantime, but it’ll happen.

    • mark says:

      ICE are not better for the environment. EVs will soon be cheaper than ICE, and even now over their total lives, many are already cheaper. Time will tell us right, but I predict EVs will be most if the new car market in 10 years.

    • max says:

      Global sales of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) rose 31% in 2023, down from 60% growth in 2022, according to market research firm Rho Motion.

      Global consumption of oil has steadily increased over the last three decades,

      Vaclav Smil in 2017:
      The worldwide total of EVs on the road reached 2 million units in 2016. If you plot the trajectory of the global stock of EVs since the beginning of their sales to the year 2016, you will see that the equation that best fits the data (a fourth-order polynomial) projects about 32 million units in 2025. But the International Energy Agency’s 2017 EV outlook estimates growth from 40 million to 70 million units worldwide by 2025 and from 160 million to 200 million by 2030. Then there are the environmental consequences. If EVs are to reduce carbon emissions (and thus minimize the extent of global warming), their batteries must not be charged with electricity generated from the combus- tion of fossil fuels. But in 2016, 68 percent of global electricity originated in fossil fuels;

      Some 18 million battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were in use globally in 2022.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        “Global consumption of oil has steadily increased over the last three decades,”

        That’s the petrochemical industry, not gasoline consumption.

        • Jason says:

          As of Dec 2023, there are over 41 million EVs in use in the world today. China alone is over 20 million EVs, nearly half of all EVs in the world.

      • NBay says:

        So large land animal destruction/radically reducing is winning?

        Wish I had an eternally blissful afterlife owed me, but have decided not to act like a fool to get one.

    • NBay says:

      Yeah, every time I see you roll by with that big diesel Ram with dualies and diesel, and fake exhaust stacks, I say “Now that man has a lot of GUTS and GLORY”….EVERYONE does!
      (how many ways does your tailgate fold? GM is up to 6!)

      EVs are for sissys.

      Actually a schill doesn’t deserve that many words.

    • Jason says:

      This is hilarious. We are an all EV household. Charge them with our rooftop solar which has already paid itself off years ago. Haven’t paid for a single drop of gasoline in 7 years. Most of our friends have EVs and most of those that don’t drive an EV yet are buying them after their current ICE retires. It blows my mind how people in sunny states are paying $300+ for their house electric bills and another $300+ in gasoline each month. When they can install solar and switch to EVs and never pay either bill again.

    • phillip jeffreys says:

      Excuse me – trustworthy…not responsible.

    • Luke says:

      There’s no basis for your claims. The data clearly disagrees with you, and as an EV owner, my cars is far superior in its functionality, operating costs, and performance than any ICE sedan. More EVs will keep stealing market share from ICE cars, such as the Lucid Gravity from Cadillac and similar SUV manufacturers. ICE vehicles are actually a very terrible design from an engineering standpoint. Changing the rpm of an ICE frequently produces terrible performance, efficiencies, and reliability. ICE vehicles are nearing their plateau in performance characteristics, EVs are still quite infant and have a long runway.

  2. Oldpaperboy says:

    In 2006,the then CEO of BP,predicted that the we have reached the peak of gasoline consumption and will slowly reduce in the years to come…

    • Hubberts Curve says:

      That was certainly perceptive of him, given how the world had hit the peak of conventional oil ( not fracked or tar sands) in 2005. At that point it was inevitable that the consumption of gasoline would eventually decline even though Hydrofracking and tar sands would prop up production of petroleum for several more decades ( at least up to the current day).

  3. Tractionengine says:

    With gasoline sales volume dropping, how does the government maintain their tax take from drivers? At some point, the government gotta get back what’s “theirs”.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Yes, that’s a problem. The federal government encourages more efficient ICE vehicles, and it encourages EVs, thereby encouraging the decline of the cash flow into its Highway Trust Fund via the federal fuel taxes. So in many states, EV buyers are paying an extra fee at the state DMV to help solve that issue.

      • Nonya Beezwax says:

        This year a new law goes into effect in my state. The fee for my PHEV and all Hybrids will have $100 added. Full EVs will be $200 higher. This will be quite a jump from the regular $35 registration fee. After doing the math I will be overpaying my simulated “gas tax” by quite a bit and punished for driving very little. I switched to using hybrid mode last year to help save battery life when gas got so cheap, but as it climbs back up towards $4 I will use EV mode for short trips again. I don’t want to have to report my actual mileage to the government, but with the flap over data recording by modern cars (see Mozilla) they probably could know already. Perhaps the tire tax mentioned is an alternative, but unless implemented widely will result in tire sales moving out of state.

    • CWSDPMI says:

      I would suggest a much, much higher tax on tires. EVs tend to go through them very quickly. It is also aligned with the micro-carbon pollution generated when the tires wear out.

      • Jon says:

        My ev which gives me 320 Mike’s range has tires which lasts 40k Mike’s with normal non aggressive driving.

      • Wolf Richter says:


        “EVs tend to go through them very quickly.”

        More anti-EV bullshit.

        My 330hp rear-wheel drive ICE sports sedan that we got rid of in 2020 needed new tires about every 25,000 miles.

        Performance tires use softer rubber that doesn’t last long. Economy car tires use harder rubber that lasts longer and produces a higher mileage.

        In addition, cheap tires use a rubber that doesn’t last long at all. When you buy a 2-year-old front-wheel drive former rental car, it will have cheap new tires on the front and the better OEM tires in the rear. If those cheap tires in the front make it through 20,000 miles, you’re very lucky, that’s our experience.

        Tires have ratings in terms of the miles they’re designed to last (Tire Treadwear Rating). Those ratings vary widely, nothing to do with EVs.

        A lot of it depends on the rubber, and the other half depends on how your drive.

        • CWSDPMI says:

          I am NOT anti-EV. As you are fond of noting personal experience is not data. I don’t have it off hand (anyone have it handy?) but heavier vehicles tend to need more expensive tires and use them more quickly.

          I personally drive a high performance ICE car with VERY expensive tires and replace them often for performance (stopping distance) reasons.

          As an engineer, I can tell you all the reasons why EVs will win this war. They are much higher efficiency. The drivetrain and moving parts are simpler and more reliable. The problem today is batteries (weight, cost, range, fill-up time). That problem is improving with each iteration and will be resolved in 10 years.

          I LOVE EVs but they don’t fit my personal use cases. For example, I make long distance trips in Texas where my average speed is 80+ MPH for a 6+ hour non-stop trip. The 2014 dual turbo Cadillac can get 27MPG at 85 – so a nice 555 mile range. The time I borrowed a model S for a 200 mile dash to Georgetown I had to painfully stop as it could not hit that range at my 85+ average speed (ICE car efficiency drops much less with Texas highway speeds than EVs do).

          But back to tires – people who go through them fast for whatever reason would be good candidates to pay for extra road maintenance. All you folk that drive very conservatively wouldn’t object to this !

        • Wolf Richter says:

          “but heavier vehicles…”

          That is precisely the anti-EV BS. EVs are not significantly heavier than ICE vehicles of like class and performance.

          The Tesla Model 3 competes directly with the BMW 3 series. Both are rear-wheel drive near-luxury sports sedans. So compare the base Model 3 to a BMW 3 series that accelerates as quickly as the Model 3, and then check their weight. There isn’t much difference. Don’t compare a Model 3 to a Corolla. People that do that automatically go on my moron list.

        • ChS says:

          ““EVs tend to go through them very quickly.”

          More anti-EV bullshit.”

          I dunno, only one data point but the Michelin Energy Savers that came on my new EV only lasted 15k miles and I wasn’t driving it hard.

  4. Ol' B says:

    The first car I ever had was a 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass Saloon 4-door with a 307 V8. It got about 15 mpg and topped out at around 85 mph.

    A few years back on a whim I bought a VW Jetta with a 1.4 liter turbocharged 4 cyl. The car got 35-45 mpg and would cruise at 90 up the interstate hills out of San Diego without breathing hard. Put 50k on that car in three years and traded on another VW gas vehicle.

    I expect to buy a gasoline powered car someday soon that makes 200+ hp per liter and gets 60+ mpg. I think Toyota will probably be the leader in ultra -efficiency gas cars for a long time. The regular Prius is a 100% gas powered car, as are all “hybrids”.

    • MM says:

      200 HP / liter isn’t that far away. You can buy a stock Civic R that makes 315 HP on a little 2.0 turbo (it makes ~15 psi of boost stock). But with the right mods – intake, intercooler, bigger injectors, downpipe etc. and of course a tune – you can squeeze almost 400 HP out of that little engine.

  5. Brant Lee says:

    Nat gas vehicles must not be a good alternative, right?

    • Swamp Creature says:

      How about hydrogen vehicles?

      • SoCalBeachDude says:

        BMW did extensive testing and ruled out the practicality of hydrogen powered vehicles long ago.

      • Clykke says:

        The process of extracting the hydrogen itself is difficult and energy intensive. Unless there’s a breakthrough to allow cheaper large scale hydrogen extraction it will struggle to gain traction.

      • mark says:

        Hydrogen is hard to store and transport, but will be used in static locations like factories to.replace fossil fuels in production. Excess wind and solar will be used to split water with the hydrogen stored locally until needed.

    • Northernlights says:

      Honda produced a natural gas version of the Civic, the GX, for almost 20 years and sold very few, at least in the US. Because these were modified gasoline engines they didn’t need any huge technology advances to make them feasible from a production standard.

      The problem was a lack of refueling infrastructure, and think about how many people have natural gas piped in at home. Honda basically told people to not refuel at home because of likely quality issues with the gas supply that would make it unsuitable for vehicle use.

      Apply this concept to hydrogen powered anything and you’ll understand why it is at least an order of magnitude more difficult to execute than natural gas powered vehicles.

      • vvp says:

        Hydrogen as a product to consumers is just really really badly thought out. The current nat gas system can’t be used for it because the metallurgy just isn’t there for it. Hydrogen embrittlement is a huge issue. There might be site specific industrial applications but that’s about it. Maybe as energy storage but the economics seem really bad compared to alternatives at this juncture.

    • SoCalBeachDude says:


    • Wolf Richter says:

      Brant Lee,

      Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles have been available for decades in the US. It’s a good clean technology, and people would save a lot of money on fuel.

      On the commercial side (city buses, trucks, etc.), there are lots of them (including now LNG, such as drayage trucks).

      On the passenger vehicle side, CNG models have not caught on. Even Ford’s F-series trucks — the bestselling model in the US — were available for a while with a CNG or bi-fuel configuration. But it just didn’t sell. Other automakers tried it too for years, same results. You cannot force Americans to buy something, and when demand doesn’t materialize in large enough a quantity, manufacturers stop making them.

      Part of the problem is the lacking refueling infrastructure. The problem is solved by fleets, such as city buses, that refuel at the depot.

      Now there are some after-market conversions available (usually bi-fuel), including for the F-series. It’s just small-scale stuff. But you can get one.

      • BS ini says:

        CNG refueling stations are very limited for sure . Home NG is delivered at oz pressures and a large amount of compression is needed to refuel at home .

    • MM says:

      Straight-chained hydrocarbons like methane, ethane, propane etc are not ideal fuels for vehicles. Modern gasoline is formulated for proper combustion in a wide range of environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, pressure etc).

      Gasoline also has a much higher boiling point, so its a liquid at normal temperatures.

      I have a backup generator that runs on propane, but propane has a relatively high boiling temp (relative to methane). When its very very cold, propane doesn’t boil as efficiently, and the lack of output pressure from the tank causes problems for the engine.

    • CWSDPMI says:

      CNG is cheap and available in places like Oklahoma City. My brother has a CNG van (ex-ATT) he has used for his business. But the tanks take lots of space and don’t provide the range of liquid fueled vehicle. When something breaks, good luck finding a mechanic that can fix it.

      LNG has the issue of constant evaporation to keep the liquid cool. For a vehicle under constant use this works fine. It is infeasible for a vehicle that stays parked much of the time. I am surprised that it didn’t catch on more for 18-wheeler type service (probably fueling availability) as it was dirt cheap compared to ULSD (diesel).

  6. JOC says:

    The interesting question is “what are the investment implications?” If supply falls as demand falls, price could stay high and investment returns could be quite interesting. As a possible case study, I think the price of mercury in time series is quite interesting. Hg is clearly a vilified product, yet no price collapse.

  7. Michael Wesley Salmon says:

    Heavy Oil Problem also hurts.

    What exacerbates this problem is that our refineries are geared to using heavy oil – Venezuela, Saudi, Canada, or Urals. With heavy oil, they make 2 parts diesel to 1 part gasoline.

    All this nice clean oil coming from shale in TX, NM, is great, but you get more like 1-1 Diesel/gas ratio. Good for gas prices, bad for lettuce prices at trader joes. USA runs on Diesel.

    The refineries I talk with are adapting to making higher end liquids rather than over produce gasoline. All this can be good for the USA oil market and the south in general. Not necessarily for everyone else.

    I agree with Wolf. There is a huge misalignment of capital in the refinery business, EVs are affecting the demand side.. but there is a big disruption on the supply side as well.

    Not every barrel of oil is equal.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel are huge export products for US refineries, even in California which produces only part of its crude oil and imports the rest. There is no shortage of refineries producing gasoline in the US from US crude.

      We’ve got gasoline coming out of our ears, and we export it as value-added product. It’s a big business, and refineries have invested to cash in on this. We import crude from Mexico and sell gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel back to Mexico. What’s not to like? Eventually, Mexico is going to build enough refining capacity, but until then, we’re making money off this trade.

      This story that US refiners cannot make gasoline out of US crude oil is just nonsense. Someone started that rumor 15 years ago, and it keeps circulating. Look at reality: US exports of gasoline.

      Exports of crude oil and petroleum products hit a record 10.15 MMb/d in 2023 (red line in the chart below). About 21% of those exports are gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

  8. Hubberts Curve says:

    One structural problem for the petroleum industry ( and civilization as a whole) is that the percentage of each component of petroleum that comes off the cracking tower is fixed given the grade of petroleum that is fed in to it. Gas burning ICE automobiles served an important purpose in the fuel refining matrix. Economically, the really important stuff is the diesel fuel and jet fuel because that is what powers freight movement, construction, agriculture, mining, air travel and some electricity production ( Hawaii and others). But if there was not a fleet of ice cars burning up that gasoline it would fill up available storage and eventually shut down the petroleum refining system.
    This problem is elevated by the make-up of Hydrofracked ( tight oil) which is much lighter than most conventional petroleum and thus produces less diesel and jet fuel and more gasoline. As Wolf has pointed out the US has been able to export that gasoline to compensate for the excess production of that part of the cracking mix.
    As gasoline demand begins to decrease in other parts of the world this excess production of gasoline will begin becoming more and more of a problem.
    Ironically, one day in the future we may see people restoring old ICE cars and using them as transportation because gasoline will be readily available while other fuels become scarce and expensive. Perhaps several decades down the road our highways will more resemble present day Cuba than the Buck Rogers future we are told about.

    • elbowwilham says:

      Yes, I was thinking about this part of the equation too. From what I can tell diesel demand continues to grow, but gasoline falls. That is indeed a conundrum for the industry.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Don’t fall for this idiotic BS. Let refiners decide what to split up hydrocarbons in crude oil, and what to do with them, not people who get their BS from Zero Hedge.

        • CWSDPMI says:

          I supported dozens of refineries over the decades. You are right to say let the refiners decide. But in many cases that means several billion dollar of investments into an asset our federal government has declared will be out of business in 10 years. I wouldn’t invest in that.

          In general that means run to failure, sell it (or shut it down). If heavier crudes are not available (few USA sources, Mexico a mess, Canada: no trains, full/absent pipelines) you can’t make the distillates (diesel / jet) you need. So when we start importing distillates (still exporting gasoline) just be prepared to pay for it.

          As fracking provides mostly light, sweet crude (with nothing to fill the heavy processing parts), the SPR should be heavy crude only to make sure we can make diesel and jet fuel in an emergency. Or perhaps we should have a strategic distillates reserve …

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Right now, the US is exporting even more distillate than gasoline.

          Yeah, gas stations are a dying business, like department stores, but the process takes decades (department stores are two decades into it, and most of them have already died, but there are still a handful of survivors out there).

          But refiners are not a dying business because they can refine for the petrochemical industry, which continues to grow, and for exports, and they’re doing plenty of that.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      HC – …vaguely recall from a U.S. history course back in high school that in the late 19th century gasoline was initially considered mostly a waste product of petroleum refining until a consumer value/profitable use was found for it with the development of Otto-cycle engines…

      may we all find a better day.

      • Softtail Rider says:

        Was wondering when this would come along. Gasoline then was dumped into the rivers. Guess ICE cured one problem for another.

        EVs bring up battery fires of which our news media isn’t reporting out loud. Wonder why.

        Wolf brought up tire mileage which I have always been sensitive about. My last two purchases were installed after the EPA mileage and use by date had passed. The first had sidewall punctures when being replaced. Driving habits truly do influence mileage. In both cases miles and time were well past normal limits.

        I do the same with motorcycle tires! Many times age and experience wins.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          “EVs bring up battery fires of which our news media isn’t reporting out loud. Wonder why.”

          1. This is nonsense. Every time a Tesla runs into a guardrail or hits a pedestrian or ignites it makes the national news. Every single EV fire turns into instant clickbait for people to pleasure themselves with.

          2. ICE vehicle fires are a huge issue. Something like 230 people die every year in ICE vehicle fires. There are lots of ICE vehicle recalls due to a problem that could cause a fire in the vehicle. No one ever talks about ICE vehicle fires because they’re normal for ICE vehicles. ICE vehicles have always gone up in flames. That’s what you get when you sit on top of 15 gallons of gasoline next to a hot exhaust system and a device that combusts that gasoline with high-voltage electricity. Time to move beyond gasoline.

        • CWSDPMI says:

          16-25 EV fires out of about 2,500,000 = about 0.002% (suggests that ICE cars are 30 times more likely to catch fire!

          There is risk in everything you do, don’t spread disinformation.

    • Lune says:

      Yes, but commercial transport is also on the road to EV conversion, probably about a decade behind. First will be last-mile transport like delivery trucks and buses, but as battery tech gets better (especially recharging times that represent downtime for a busy vehicle) even long distance trucking. If anything, EVs make even more sense for commercial vehicles given that they’re used for so many more miles so the initial higher cost is even more outweighed by the per-mile cost savings.

      Also, don’t underestimate the ability of the petrochemical system to change. If diesel becomes permanently more expensive than gasoline, truck engines using gasoline will become more common. The only reason trucks use diesel is because the economics pencils out lower than gas. When that switches, look for customers to choose gas engines.

      I agree that the Petro industry can’t change on a dime, but it can definitely change due to long term secular trends. I’m not exactly worried about refineries flaring gasoline just yet :)

  9. Not Sure says:

    “And the grid can handle the EVs just fine”

    Every figure that I can find says that less than 2% of all cars on the road are currenty BEV in the U.S., so I’m not sure I would call everything “just fine” yet. Even as we see that number of EVs multiply by 10x, that still doesn’t even get us to 20% of all cars being electric.

    The good news is that ICE cars last a while and ev adaption is gradual, so electrical operators have some time to adjust and build out. EVs parked in a driveways charging overnight can be a good call for those who can benefit from EV ownership, but I still don’t see how EVs are going to be a good choice for apartment dwellers in large numbers anytime soon.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      A good example to blow up your argument is San Francisco, whose grid is old and in bad shape, but where EV penetration is much bigger than 2%. EVs are absolutely everywhere.

      And here is the infamous utility pole off our balcony in San Francisco through which a bunch of EVs are being recharged every night, when almost no electricity is being used and when time-of-use prices per kwh are lower (after 9 pm) . You really need to wrap your brains around the concept of charging EVs at night at home with cheaper electricity when there is almost no load on the grid, and when the grid just sits idle and costs the utility money. Utilities LOVE EVs for that reason.

      I took that photo a few years ago. It looks worse now.

    • The Squeezed says:

      Don’t cry for the utilities.
      They not only get to pass the cost of updating their grids to their customers, but our Government is ready to assist as well.

      Here in northern Illinois, ComEd now has 6 different state-mandated green energy-related fees that equal 17% of our bills total. None of these gimmes reduce the cost of energy or its delivery to customers. ComEd an Exelon company has record profits and Exelon just got a huge gimme from our state to keep their Nuclear plant operating (green energy?).

      I’m confident we will all pay more for our future energy, regardless of what form it takes.

    • Guerre de nom says:

      The landlord of my apartment building of 7 units allows us to install chargers. So far 2/7 have done so. Just call it an addition couple thousand onto the price of that new car

  10. Tom Milton says:

    My question is: what did you expect? When you plan something and put a bunch of effort to it why be surprised when you get the intended result?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      We’re not surprised. We’re providing annual data on gasoline consumption as part of our economic coverage — energy is a big part of it, and autos are a big part of it. Almost nothing surprises us anymore in this joint.

  11. rick m says:

    A hundred years ago, owners of ICE vehicles had no gas stations yet and refueled their cars from barrels at railheads. An impartial observer might have thought at that time that the future was bleak for gassers. It only took a few years for the market to respond with impressive infrastructure build out. EV’s are youngsters yet. ICE applications will be increasingly niche as better batteries are marketed and chargers proliferate.
    When I started driving, single-digit mileage in sedans was not uncommon. The improvement over fifty years is extraordinary, but I expect even more from EV technology as it’s inherent advantages are developed.

    • WB says:

      “When I started driving, single-digit mileage in sedans was not uncommon”

      LOL! When did you start driving, 1910? We had diesel engines that got 40+ miles per gallon in the 1970’s?

      The only thing that beats that now (40+ years later) are hybrids, and just barely. Now consider the price tags, and you know why people are quite fine with a modest ICE.

      This isn’t rocket science.

  12. Debt-Free-Bubba says:

    Howdy Folks A Bubba Obvious Observation
    Why the big subsidy push on EVs then? Seems they could progress on their own weight.

    • Sean Shasta says:

      @DFB: The big subsidy is to tackle the classic chicken-and-egg issue.

      More EVs would drive more investments in charging infrastructure as well as increased R&D in solid state batteries, alternative battery chemistries, faster charging, etc.

      When fossil fuel industries are getting billions of dollars in subsidies even though they are hugely profitable and have been around for more than a century, why not subsidize EVs or hydrogen or wind/solar?

      We need clean energy and clean vehicles. Even the research of fossil fuel industries (which they concealed from the public for 4-5 decades now) indicates that there is a direct correlation between man-made pollution and climate change. Providing subsidies for development of clean energy and clean vehicles is a prudent and necessary move.

      • Debt-Free-Bubba says:

        Howdy Sean Two bad ideas make a good? 35 trillion in debt ?
        No Thanks

        • Sean Shasta says:

          Howdy DFB: I see these as 2 very different ideas.

          One idea is throwing money at fossil fuels which we are trying to get out of.

          The other is trying to invest in something better for the future.

          One is a government expense that goes straight to the shareholders of the fossil fuel corporations. The other is an investment which can lead to a cleaner environment with massive environmental and health benefits.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          yes, it’s idiotic policy now to subsidize an already hot industry. I’ve said this many times. EVs can and should stand on their own four wheels. Let the market decide.

        • The Squeezed says:

          I agree there is no need for subsidy, but our government is not a business. Budgeted monies are in essence a sunk cost. Cry about next year’s budget, while there is still time to change it. They will spend what is budgeted regardless of whether the money is there. Again, not a business.

          Coming from a model 3 owner that purchased when they were $60K and the Fed subsidy was down to $3500 and no state subsidy. Not the smartest guy in the room, but it’s worked out well for us.

          We also invested in solar and battery storage in the rut, lower fed gimme, and state bump. But like the US, we had the capital at the time to invest and it worked out well. We now produce enough energy to charge our car and provide the energy required for the other three properties of our circle.

          Progress is often about the opportunities we can create by taking action.

      • Escierto says:

        Most of the population of the US does not believe there is a connection between man made pollution and climate change. Their motto is back to the Middle Ages!

        • Debt-Free-Bubba says:

          Howdy Escierto. More and more people believe Govern ment can solve more and more problems. It can t.

        • Sean Shasta says:

          @DFB: The Government is not an organic entity. It takes on the qualities of the people it represents. If more “dysfunctional” people vote and more knowledgeable people stay away from voting, the government will be dysfunctional as well.

          “Government can’t solve things” is an illogical position.

          We cannot do away with the government, so the only option is to vote in a government that can do reasonably good things and stay away from doing bad things.

        • Matt B says:

          There is actually more public consensus on climate change than people realize.

          According to a CNN survey from last December, asking “How much responsibility do you think humanity has to try to reduce climate change?” The response “a great deal” was selected by 77% of Democrats, 42% of Republicans, and 61% overall.

      • The Struggler says:

        “Clean” is relative and in the eye of the beholder. I live in Colorado with a messy and storied mining history. We can ignore the metals industry as we’re politically keeping it far from sight.

        I also saw an article about the “emissions” of EVs from increased tire wear and other chemical emissions being “1800X more” than the ICE tailpipe. I didn’t RTGDFA and I am not confident in our ability for environmental impact assessment:

        Unintended consequences are inevitable in human action!

        • Guerre de nom says:

          There are lots of types of emissions. Tire particulate is bad for the local environment, but does not cause global warming, which is the more existential crisis

        • The Struggler says:

          Guerre de nom

          We have no idea what causes the climate to change. Everyone is convinced it’s CO2 (only?).

          Volcanic or solar events can affect us much more rapidly and dramatically than we think.

          The problem with tire rubber is that it’s spread throughout the environment. It’s the source of microplastics in the uninhabited antarctic.

          Brakes were the other thing cited in the report….

          Also, there’s environmental groups calling the report BS.

          I have no idea. Innovation will always continue, despite all opposition, for better or worse!

        • Wolf Richter says:

          ALL vehicles shed tire particles and brake-pad particles. Claiming that EVs shed more than ICE vehicles is bullshit. They shed less because of regen braking.

      • MM says:

        “We need clean energy and clean vehicles.”

        The most environmentally-friendly thing you can do is drive your existing car as long as possible. Buying a new car is always worse for the environment.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      yes, it’s idiotic policy now to subsidize an already hot industry. I’ve said this many times. EVs can stand on their own four wheels.

      • Sean Shasta says:

        @Wolf: I think it is a bit early to pull back on the EV incentives. I guess we can agree to disagree.

        • ru82 says:

          The question is are the new EV incentives a move to clean energy or to protect the US car manufacturing industry? They are way behind as Wolf has pointed out many times. Is this just malinvestments. Maybe just let the next generation of car manufacturers win the honest way via true competition?

          I also think there is no need to subsidize the hot EV market. Hybrids are hot too and there are no subsidies. Maybe subsidize the Charging network buildout instead or more subsidies for solar roofs? If someone has a solar roof, they may have more incentives to buy an EV for the free charging….at least it would for me.

      • VIII says:

        Could you comment re: fossil fuel subsidies, and whether those claims are valid.

        I recall reading a while back that most ‘subsidies’ are simply a reduced VAT/sales tax on home heating fuels, I.e governments lower the cost to help poorer people survive Winter.

        I’m skeptical that western governments are handing billions of USD/Euros to Exxon Mobil and BP, but you probably know the details.

        • ru82 says:

          VIII – That is a hard and sticky subject. I think it depends on what side you take because both sides will be biased. Just my two cents.

          But Energy makes the world go around. Fossil fuels or renewables. Cheap energy from fossil fuels have created tremendous growth and prosperity over the past 50 to 100 years.

          Maybe current fossil fuel subsidies allowed the US to become energy dependent? That is important. Who knows? Cheap energy has probably brought back lots of onshoring manufacturing. Crytpo mining. etc. Oil and Nat Gas adjusted for inflation is very cheap energy. Oil/gasoline energy density is pretty amazing and it is portable and can be put into a gas can or barrel or shipped across many miles in a pipeline. I can move my 6000 lb pickup truck 27 miles on 1 gallon of gas in 20 minutes. How many horses or people would it take to do the same thing?

          Maybe it is time we move on to more renewables if they can provide cheap energy. Put solar panels on top of a car and you have portable energy too? That would be cool. But, we need to move big time into battery storage.

          Google Fossil fuel subsidy myths to probably get the correct picture.

      • MarMar says:

        If only you pointed out all the subsidies for fossil fuels at the same time that you mentioned this, though

        • VIII says:

          FWIW, I have no horse in this race and I sincerely come here to learn.

          But from what I’ve found, there is very little fossil fuel subsidy in the US – $3B seems to be number, and that is flimsy based on accounting, e.g apparently being allowed to deduct expenses is a subsidy somehow.

          Therefore, I think it’s misleading and/or dishonest to refer to fossil fuel subsidies as a justification for green subsidies.

          Let the market decide. It’s the ultimate democracy.

        • MarMar says:

          The IMF estimates it at several hundred billion dollars in the US alone when the (massive) negative externalities are factored in.

        • VIII says:

          Externalities are a valid criticism of fossil fuels, and a carbon tax would be the best solution IMHO. Some countries already tax fossil fuels beyond their pollution cost.

          However, I still think it’s patently dishonest/misleading to describe that externality (pollution) as a subsidy.

          PS – the IMF doesn’t claim the US gives hundreds of billions in subsidies. There was a ‘working paper’ published last year that made that claim, but a working paper is supposedly a starting point for discussion. That working paper reported $3B in accounting practices as subsidies, and then the remaining $757B as untaxed externalities=subsidy.

  13. Herpderp says:

    My current car gets 37mpg. Its 7 years old and I suspect it’s got another 5 good years in it if my luck holds. Whenever Im forced to replace it Ill be grabbing the new hybrid civics coming out this year and getting 65 mpg. I’ll gladly continue this structural trend, and who knows, if I ever get a house maybe I’ll get an EV, since the current range of EVs meets my driving needs without range anxiety. Wont go full BEV until I have a garage to charge in though.

    • Debt-Free-Bubba says:

      Howdy Herpderp. Way to go, purchase what you want when you want or need it. Be glad you are not imprisoned with a 3 % Mortgage. You can still live where you want.

      • Anthony A. says:

        No one is imprisoned with a 3% mortgage! That’s a gift you won’t see again!

        • Herpderp says:

          Right? If they didn’t want a new mortgage they could rent like they tell everyone is so wonderful, yet they don’t want to rent… wonder why.

        • rojogrande says:

          I think you’re right. It seems when someone has a very good deal, others need to rationalize why it’s actually bad for them. If a low mortgage rate is a prison, why is there a surge of refinancing every time rates drop? People must like prison, because many are hoping to see 3% rates again.

          Anyone with a 3% mortgage can still go live where they want when they want. In the meantime, they save on interest expense every month. If they CHOOSE not to leave their 3% mortgage, that’s a financial decision most people are capable of making for themselves. Having options is the opposite of being imprisoned.

        • Debt-Free-Bubba says:

          Howdy Folks. YEP believe it or not a 3 % Mortgage is a prison. ZIRP did so much damage financially and took away your Freedom. Try and move or change jobs or live somewhere else ?

        • Debt-Free-Bubba says:

          Also Folks. ZIRP created bubbles everywhere. If you need to move? How much more to pay? Stay? Everything will cost you more to stay because of ZIRP, taxes, insurance. Think that 3% mortgage was worth it?

        • MM says:

          I love my 3% prison. I’ve put blood, sweat, & tears into this place to make it truly mine. Why would I move?

        • Depth Charge says:

          “I love my 3% prison. I’ve put blood, sweat, & tears into this place to make it truly mine. Why would I move?”

          Loss of job, severe illness, spouse, other family issues, financial deterioration, horrible new neighbor, etc.

      • Anthony A. says:

        DFB, if you think a 3% mortgage is like being in prison, then no mortgage must be like going to Hell! LOL!

        • MM says:

          DFB’s philosophy seems to be that any debt is a bad thing.

          I don’t disagree with the sentiment, but you can’t paint everyone with the same brush. Personal situations differ.

          I could pay down more principal on my 5%?

        • Debt-Free-Bubba says:

          Howdy Anthony My Individual Freedoms mean the most to me. ZIRP fooled millions. Millions still believe the checks Govern ment sent them was theirs to keep. Paying it all back with inflation and so many lost their Freedoms also.

        • MM says:

          I could pay down more principal on my sub-3% mortgage, but why would I do that when I can loan money to the Treasury at over 5%?

          …forgot the comment box accepts HTML tags…

        • Debt-Free-Bubba says:

          Howdy MM. Personal debt is bad. Business debt is another thing altogether.

      • Andrew P says:

        I’ve always interpreted “3% mortgages are a prison” in the same way that “golden handcuffs” (e.g. large monetary incentives to keep a job for some years) are handcuffs.

        Obviously it is better to have the golden handcuffs than to not have any incentive at all! After all, you have a choice — following the incentive — that you wouldn’t otherwise have, and presumably if you’re taking it, you think it’s better than the alternative.

        But it still means trading off other values for economic ones, which can feel uncomfortable and I think it’s totally reasonable to feel trapped, and to complain about it. Even if the feeling isn’t strictly rational.

  14. GuessWhat says:

    “376 million gallons per day” or 8.95M barrels and that’s just petrol.

    It’s going to be a LONG TIME before oil is weeded out. Just like predicting the BIG ONE (depression) that’s coming, it’s going to be just as hard to say when oil reaches its tipping point.

    But, when that day comes, there will be a big re-valuation of oil companies / commodities, then look out for what happens in the middle east. Since this is still decades away, Iran will have built suit-case nukes. Once oil becomes much less valuable, their economy will become very unstable, threatening the regime’s power. At that point, they’re going to lash out at the west. This event could certainly happen much sooner than the post-peak oil inflection point that’s coming, but again that’s nearly impossible to predict.

    Last, it will be interesting to see the geopolitics play out between now & early Nov. Lots of black swan opportunities abound.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      In the US, the majority of use of crude oil and petroleum products is already in the petrochemical industry, not for fuel. The petrochemical industry just keeps growing.

      • CWSDPMI says:

        But mostly for plastics. If the anti-plastics folk win their war, all packaging (and car interiors) will be wood and glass. Compare the environmental and energy costs. It will be an interesting future. Perhaps we should invest in popcorn futures.

        • The Struggler says:

          The chemical industry creates over 12,000 new chemicals each day.

  15. Glen says:

    Wonder how long before the pilots that are charging people for miles driven will roll out? CA is especially dependent on gas tax, which, according to CalTrams, pays for 80% of highway and road repairs. Toll roads are also more common but only in some areas.

    • Anthony A. says:

      I suppose CA can just raise the gas tax if they need more funds. Seems like they have done that recently.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      We now have express lanes (toll lanes) so that rich people don’t get stuck in traffic. Last night, I drove down to Silicon Valley on 101, and that one stretch where they put in the new toll lane, it would have cost me $4.75 for I guess less than 10 miles, to where I got off. So on that stretch, I used up about 1/4 gallon of gas, and paid the state roughly 13 cents in gas taxes. If I had used the toll lane, I would have paid the state $4.88 instead of just $0.13.

      These toll lanes could be a big revenue source if people use them (not many cars used them last night because the counter-commute traffic wasn’t bad).

      They’re now putting these toll lanes in on I-80 on a long stretch starting somewhere east of the Carquinez Bridge toward Sacramento in both directions. Ka-ching!

      • Bs ini says:

        My tolls for a weekend trip in PA without toll tags was 100 usd for a Round trip across the state from Ohio to Philadelphia. Should have taken the state roads but i had no idea of the cost

        • Anthony A. says:

          I’m pretty sure the PA Turnpike is the most expensive toll road in the U.S.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Back in my younger days, I lived in Tulsa, and for work had to drive to Oklahoma City once a week, on the Turner Turnpike.

          When the highway was built back before me, it was funded with a big bond issue, that was paid for by the tolls. I have been told by people who were there before me that they were promised that the bonds would be paid off by the tolls, and then after the bonds are paid off, the tolls would be removed. That turned out to be a big joke. Instead the tolls were raised multiple times and still exist today.

          But I think they’re pretty cheap compared to the PA Turnpike, LOL

          The bridge tolls here in the Bay Area are another matter. Some have variable rates, based on congestion. It costs I believe $6 to $8 to cross the Bay Bridge. The GG Bridge now runs $8.75 with FasTrak.

        • elysianfield says:

          The Bay Bridge toll. They do not charge a fee for you to go to Oakland, but they make you pay to leave.

          Makes sense.

  16. johnbarrt says:

    The gasoline structural problem is in the US ( not worldwide ) fossil fuel demand worldwide will continue to increase for many years to come imo.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      In Japan and Europe, the same is happening as in the US. ICE vehicles around the world are getting more efficient, not just in the US. And China is the global leader in EV sales and penetration. And in India, EV 2-wheelers and 3-wheelers (dominant there) are taking off. All of this has an impact on gasoline sales. Sure, developing nations will see growing use of transportation fuels.

      The use of crude oil and petroleum products by the petrochemical industry continues to grow everywhere.

    • CWSDPMI says:

      Economics fix everything. If you can’t sell your gasoline at a profit, you move more to chemicals feedstock or try to move more into jet. At some point gasoline maybe an “at cost” sale and this will increase folk who want hybrids or to restore ancient cars.

  17. Frank says:

    Is not EC charging a huge barrier? Renters are not going to install chargers. Landlords will not until the rental market demands it. A significant number of homeowners cannot install them ( no driveway near the home, townhouse communities for ex.). City dwellers, condos….

    • Escierto says:

      It’s only a huge barrier in the minds of those mesmerized by their media masters.

      • Anthony A. says:

        It’s a huge barrier if you have an EV and no home to charge it at night.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Even then it’s not a barrier because there are a gazillion charging stations. You cannot fill up your ICE vehicle in your garage either, you gotta drive to the gas station and get your hands dirty.

          Ask the Tesla owners, many of whom do not charge at home. The #2 bestselling model in the US is an EV, the Model Y, a true mass-market product, and it works just fine.

        • Anthony A. says:

          My experience with non-Tesla charging stations is pretty bleak over the 8 months I have owned an EV (Bolt). Electrify America, EVGo and others are poorly maintained and there are many situations where their charger status (working or not) is not correct. Some locations have units that only charge at low Level 2 rates. And the prices are going up (that’s another discussion).

          I have several personal experiences with that on SHORT trips of 200+ miles. Plus, these non-Tesla stations are generally small in size (only one to four chargers) and lined with vehicles waiting for their turn. Many chargers are not high speed DC units like Tesla provides. It’s a crapshoot and with more EVs hitting the roads, it’s getting unreliable and this summer should be a mess. Get stuck in front of a Rivan with the humongous battery and the goofy owner wanting to charge to 90%, and you will have a several hour wait.

          I will not take my Bolt on a long trip until such time as I can use a Tesla charging station.

          Tesla just opened up their charging network to Ford, so things should improve soon. I hope GM is next.

          This is not a smooth transition (EV/charging network/etc) and will take years to unfold. But don’t think it’s peaches and cream right now, because it is not. Even Tesla locations are jammed with cars waiting. I was at a Buckees highway stop a few weeks ago and there must have been 30 Teslas in line for a charge (5 lines), many of which will be sitting for a couple of hours.

          There are no rules to the charging game as of now.

          I like my Bolt, and I have a garage charger. If I didn’t have that setup, I wouldn’t own it. The best game in town now is a Tesla if you want an EV. I may trade my Bolt in for a Model Y.

        • CWSDPMI says:

          Sounds like a huge market opportunity for someone with a clue. Clearly everyone except Tesla seems not to understand.

  18. John G says:

    In my previous life as a home owning suburban worker bee in the Chicago suburbs, a modern EV would have fit the bill for my transportation. However, going outside that envelope would require at least a hybrid. Now in a semi rural locale, with actual winters, an EV would still work for local needs. Though towing anything pretty much dictates an ICE vehicle. Never mind how the EV charging map of Michigan’s UP looks like a satellite view of North Korea at night.

    On another subject, chainsaws. My electric model is good. Especially if I have to trim out a tangle of fallen tree tops before getting at the core of downed tree trunks. But if I have to hike in any distance for a large stretch of blow down, I take the gas saw. 24 oz of saw mix provides more power, for a lot longer, than 20 lbs of rechargeable batteries. Plus the batteries weigh just the same when they are discharged.

    • The Squeezed says:

      I like this very narrow niche example of the complexity of owning an EV. It assumes you can’t charge at your remote home and like most of the towing examples, assumes you’re doing that all the time. As a property investor, light to heavy construction needs. I’ve found Menards and Home deport cover all my truck needs with rentals and deliveries and fall well short of the expense of owning a truck.

      That said, I just may business expense a Tesla truck for fun and convenience since I can charge at home and cover my light load needs.

  19. Steve says:

    No mention of the contribution from WFH?

  20. Anthony A. says:

    I have to say there is no evidence of gasoline consumption dropping if you stop at a Costco gas station!

  21. Amar says:

    I’m a millennial young professional and most in my generation aspire to buy a Tesla or EV as their next vehicle purchase. I currently drive a hybrid and my next vehicle will 100% be an EV. If automakers are able to reduce costs of EV’s, I expect this transition to only accelerate.

    • Jorge J says:

      Ditto on all your points!

    • The Struggler says:

      I have two gas guzzlers (sub 20mpg).

      I aspire to get a hybrid (30-50? Mpg).

      I’m not sold on EVs due to range, cold weather reliability charging infrastructure. However there’s no shortage of EVs in my neighborhood. We even have a cybertruck owner and several Rivians.

      Yes: the wealthy. Also: tech loving, town friendly and other folk.

      I kinda don’t think that efficiency or technology will begin to fade anytime soon.

      • The Squeezed says:

        What would it take for you to be “sold” on Evs?
        As a Tesla 2020 Model 3 owner who charges at home every day and has driven across the country, it seems the range hasn’t been an issue. Teslas charging network is near flawless (I’ve never encountered an issue) and the US is quickly adopting that standard. For funsies try test-driving some EVs or brave renting a Tesla for your next trip. Get a first-person perspective.

        • Harvey Mushman says:

          “As a Tesla 2020 Model 3 owner who charges at home every day and has driven across the country”

          I’m curious, did the fact that you drove and EV, dictate the route you had to take on your cross country trip?

          For example, if I wanted to drive from southern Utah, across Nevada and into southern Oregon, would I have problems with having enough range?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Harvey Mushman

          Anti-EV bullshit question. Just look it up. Tesla tells you where its gazillion charging stations are, and they’re everywhere, from Tesla’s site, this is Utah:

        • The Struggler says:


          Longer range mostly. I live in Colorado. A round trip to Grand Junction and back would probably give my wife range anxiety.

          It’s less than 300 miles, and I know many EV models would make it. I also know that the wife certainly wouldn’t want to take the time of charging with a slow-charge. Rapid charging is great (from what I understand), otherwise it takes hours for a full charge?

          Again the cold weather performance is a potential issue (I park outside in the mountains), especially without at-home charging.

          Also add the “mom” factor: wanting an SUV type option (with said range).

          I am shopping for a used hybrid however.

  22. Terry says:

    The article missed a big point. It states the gasoline consumption has been flat since 2003. However, crude oil consumption is up over 20% since that time. We are using more crude than ever.

  23. Ervin says:

    That’s 47,000 gasoline tank truck deliveries each and every day.

  24. BS ini says:

    3 V8 Large SUV vehicles for 2 drivers in Texas. Though if my truck ever quits do I replace the engine or buy one of Wolfs famous F150 overpriced used one? My 35 year old daughter and family drive two large suv V8 as well . But the trend is efficiency !

  25. Redundant says:

    I assume there’s going to be interesting dynamics in the transition from Mom and Pop convenience-gas stations and the costs of retrofitting a charging station that’s connected to junk food.

    Gas stations still seem very ubiquitous and simple. I have doubts about the rate of adoption in this EV race. I’m definitely out of the loop.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      Gas stations are big and complex — underground tanks, electrical pumps and meters, and room for tanker trucks to pull in to fill the tanks. And properties that old gas stations are on have become worthless because the soil is so contaminated that remedial costs often exceed the value of the land.

      A charging station is just a little thing at the edge of a regular parking lot, with the parking slots reserved for charging. At the Walgreens parking lot down the street here, the landlord installed some EVGo stations at a corner of the parking lot, bothers no one, you can hardly see them unless you’re looking for them.

    • The Squeezed says:

      I’m doubtful that the future charging infrastructure will come anywhere close to resembling today’s gas station layout. There will be many EV drivers who rarely visit a charging station due to charging at home. Chargers likewise are not tied to underground tanks and may be located in more niche locations. Some are already in parking garages. I think that most convenience snack charging locations will be near highways as others will be focused on long-term parked charging.

    • Clykke says:

      I would imagine people are more likely to pay for food given electric cars take longer to charge than gas cars take to fill. I was in Maryland, saw a local gas station that had turned into a charging lot with shop. Thought that was interesting. Reflecting of the suburb more than anything, but it can happen.

  26. Thomas Curtis says:

    The burning of carbon fuels can’t end soon enough. We already have a $120T bill coming due to remove the carbon if we are diligent and we won’t be.

    The real problem is that homo sapien has always been able to put his waste back on the planet without large repercussions. Not any more.

    Now we have to grow up.

    • ru82 says:

      What is interesting is without the burning of carbon fuels, their would probably be 3 billion less people on this earth because how difficult it would be to farm and transport food. Keep people warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Build huge buildings 20 to 100 floors high to house people. Who would even want to live in Las Vegas or Phoenix without Air conditioning. LOL

      • Clykke says:

        Buildings 20 – 100 floors high is actually far more efficient way for people to live than if you were to spread all those people over a suburb in single family homes.

      • Thomas Curtis says:

        Kind of ironic, huh.

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        …we are all living on Apollo13…

        may we all find a better day.

    • MM says:

      Every fuel that exists and is practical to use has carbon in it. Carbon (and hydrogen) are required for combustion.

    • CWSDPMI says:

      Really simple. Target the highest carbon cost fuels first, Coal. It needs to be a global effort. Set tariffs at $200/T on products from nations not immediately getting rid of coal fired energy (looking at you China, India). Economics will solve your problems. When coal is gone, go for the next highest. Iterate to completion.

      Europe understands this but is timid, and only targeting part of the products, after years of adjustment. Needs to be much more aggressive.

      BTW, punish methane emissions, but credit very low cost of Nat Gas especially for peak electricity generation. In Europe, they know about the “calm dark” where no renewables are generating, and everyone will freeze without Nat Gas (or Nuclear – another story).

  27. iws says:

    Interesting as always.
    Say an ICE car at 12k miles annually consumes 600 gallons a years at 20 mpg.
    1.4M EVs sold in 2023.
    That’s 840M gallons of gas not burned or less than 3 days of what is burned in America according to the chart?

    • Thomas Curtis says:

      Yeah, I am not optimistic. In this, like most experiences of life and in history, pain will be the great teacher. After we really screw it up our environment and endure a lot of pain we (homo sapien) will work together to clean it up. Our ancestors will definitely live interesting times.

      All the while the best and the brightest of us will be exploring and colonizing the solar system. A whole new place where our waste will once again be inconsequential.

  28. DR_ECE_Prof_FinancialWizard says:

    Did not read other’s comments.
    Figure 1 and 2 numbers seem not match.
    370 million gallons per day — 330 million population —-> 1.1 gallons per day or some 400 gallons per year. We don’t even drink 1/2 gallon of liquid a day :)
    Anyway, I put together a non-grid solar system all by myself for fun. While doing the calculations, I found we use something like 20A every minute or 50KWhr per day or 18GWhr every year (no EV or pool but whole house AC – heating by gas).
    We have been living like there is no tomorrow when most of the population live with some 5% of what we use. If you have seen some Indian movies, you would have seen folks on the roof top of old worn down buses!
    Now that we are trying make India a manufacturing hub, an alternate to China, what would happen to weather change and cost even if they start using resources like us or even say 10% (there population is some 4 times us)?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      It’s 376 million gallons per day, times 30.4 (to make per month) divided by 2023 population of 339.99 million = 33.6 gallons per month per capita. This includes gasoline used by commercial vehicles, such as delivery vans.

  29. William Leake says:

    Note to Wolf: California is not the United States. EV sales in California do not necessarily represent EV sales in the rest of the country.

    People who rent apartments are not in the EV market, since there is no place to charge EVs overnight. This is a huge percentage of the US population. I read where some dealers are refusing to sell EVs, because of lack of demand. EVs are a small percentage of overall (US) vehicles on the road, so they have not had much impact on the overall grid, so it is difficult to argue whether they will or not.

  30. Rico says:

    Nobody is safe from global warming.
    Nature returns with a vengeance.
    Migration of the people could be biblical.
    Stagflation from global warming could be devastating. Hopefully the real chit-show won’t start until I’m gone. No worries.

  31. Coil says:

    In Miami for work this week, amazing (to me) how many Tesla’s are flying around. Seems like there are more Tesla’s than Toyotas.

  32. Miatadon says:

    Even the Amish are getting on board with electric-powered vehicles, well, e-bikes at least. This will put a damper in the horse and buggy industries.

  33. AK says:

    Just a fun trivia …

    Per this article, in 2023, all cars in USA collectively drove 3200 billion miles.

    Planet Pluto at its furthest point from Sun is 4.6 billion miles,
    and 2.8 billion miles at closest point.

    So american cars in 2023 drove approx 700 times longer distance
    than the distance between Sun and Pluto.

    Light of Sun takes 5 hours and 30 minutes to reach Pluto.

    Light would take 3850 hours (160 days) to pass the distance driven
    by all American cars in one year.

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