Speed Reads

Peak gas

Global demand for gasoline peaked in 2019, won't hit that level again, International Energy Agency forecasts

Demand for gasoline dropped in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic brought much of the world to a standstill. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted Wednesday that gasoline won't ever fully recover. "We do not think gasoline consumption will come back to 2019 levels again," said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

The IEA released its five-year forecast hours after BMW became the latest automaker to announce a big shift to electric vehicles. But battery-powered cars and trucks were only one of the factors that convinced the Paris-based energy monitor that we've reached peak gas demand, The Wall Street Journal reports. New gasoline-powered vehicles are also more fuel-efficient, the IEA noted, and the rise of working from home will likely change commuting practices.

Gas demand will still rise in developing countries like India and China for years to come, but the accelerating adoption of elective vehicles in Europe, the U.S., and other wealthy nations will bring overall consumption down, the IEA forecasts. While the thirst for gas won't fully recover, demand for oil will rebound and rise through at least 2026 and jet fuel consumption will slowly increase, topping 2019 levels in 2024, the agency said.

BMW said Wednesday it intends to make half its fleet battery-powered by 2030, though it will continue selling internal combustion engine vehicles, especially in developing countries. General Motors has said it plans to make its entire fleet emissions-free by 2035, Volvo is aiming to produce only electric vehicles by 2030, and Volkswagen says half its car sales will be for EVs by 2030 and it's building six large new battery factories in Europe.