global road transportation energy consumption to increase 25% by 2035

global road transportation energy consumption to increase 25% by 2035

In a new report (Transportation Forecast: Global Fuel Consumption), Navigant Research forecasts total road transportation energy consumption will grow from 81.1 quadrillion Btu in 2014 to 101.7 quadrillion Btu in 2035—an increase of 25.4%.

Approximately 84% of that will be provided by conventional fuels.

The United States is currently the largest consumer of energy in the road transportation sector, with nearly 23.1 quadrillion Btu projected to be consumed in 2014. Navigant also projects that investments in alternative fuel and fuel efficiency improvements will reduce annual energy consumption in the United States year-over-year.

Most developed countries in Western Europe and parts of Asia Pacific will also exhibit similar decreases in energy consumption. In contrast, energy consumption will grow in developing regions, particularly in Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa. Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRIC nations) will represent the largest increases, as the percentage of global road transportation energy consumed by these nations is forecast to grow from 20% in 2014 to 36% in 2035.

Conventional fuels (e.g., gasoline and diesel) represent the bulk of energy consumption throughout the forecast period. However, Navigant foresees that the consumption of gasoline will slowly decrease as alternatives and diesel become more popular in light-duty vehicle (LDV) segments.

The alternative fuels market share will grow from roughly 7.4% of global consumption in 2014 to more than 16.4% by 2035. Biofuels will represent the largest portion of alternative fuels market penetration, representing over 8.4% of global road transportation sector consumption by 2035. Electricity and hydrogen will together account for less than 0.5% of total energy consumption by 2035. The relatively marginal use of these fuels is a function of the significant energy efficiency gains of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles over conventional ICE-powered vehicles.

Markets for both vehicles and fuels have gradually begun to respond to these government programs, and alternative fuels are beginning to have an impact on global oil demand. The shape and form of road transportation alternative fuels markets vary greatly by region, largely influenced by government regulations, local resources, infrastructure, and fuel prices. For instance, markets for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) are particularly strong in Eastern Europe, Turkey, and South Korea, but relatively small elsewhere. Similarly, ethanol has done well in the United States and Brazil, but expansion into other countries has been slow. As such, no one alternative fuel has been pinpointed as a globally preferred solution.

The most impactful fuel savings strategy is likely to come from fuel efficiency improvements in the conventional vehicle platform and the internal combustion engine (ICE). To meet the increased fuel economy requirements for new vehicles, automakers have made major investments in engine downsizing, vehicle lightweighting, and vehicle electrification. Fuel efficiency improvements are relatively easily integrated into mass-market vehicles. Relatively modest incremental fuel economy improvements of 2 mpg to 3 mpg per vehicle can have significant impacts on global oil demand.

The fuels forecast builds on previous reports that assess the markets for LDVs and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs).