Thai Airways to fly biofuel passenger flight on 22 Dec
New company to advance North East England as producer of low-carbon vehicles

ExxonMobil Outlook projects hybrids and advanced vehicles to account for nearly 50% of cars globally by 2040; fuel demand for for personal vehicles to peak and decline, while commercial transportation demand rises 70%

xom oultook
Light duty vehicle fleet by type and average fuel efficiency. Source: ExxonMobil Outlook. Click to enlarge.

Exxon Mobil Corporation’s new The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040, released last week, projects that global energy demand in 2040 will be about 30% higher than it was in 2010 as population grows to 9 billion and global GDP doubles. Growth is led by developing regions such as China, India, Africa and other emerging economies. This edition of the annual Outlook marks the first extension of the long-term energy forecast to 2040.

While oil will remain the most widely used fuel, overall energy demand will be reshaped by a continued shift toward less-carbon-intensive energy source as well as steep improvements in energy efficiency in areas such as transportation, where the expanded use of advanced and hybrid vehicles will help push average new-car fuel economy to 48 mpg (4.9 L/100 km) by 2040.

ExxonMobil expects that by 2040, hybrids and other advanced vehicles will account for nearly 50 percent of light duty vehicles on the road, compared to only about 1 percent today. The vast majority will be hybrids that use mainly gasoline plus a small amount of battery power; these will make up more than 40 percent of the global fleet by 2040. Globally, ExxonMobil expects to see growth in plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, along with compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) powered vehicles. However, these will account for only about 5 percent of the global fleet in 2040, their growth limited by cost and functionality considerations.

Additionally, to achieve proposed fuel-economy targets, personal vehicles will need to be smaller and lighter than they are today. Vehicle downsizing could account for more than one-third of total projected fuel economy improvements through 2040. Globally, ExxonMobil expects the average new car to get 48 miles per gallon (MPG) in 2040, compared to 27 MPG in 2010.

—ExxonMobil Outlook

Because of that, demand for energy for personal vehicles will remain essentially flat through 2040 even as the number of personal vehicles in the world doubles to about 1.6 billion units.

ExxonMobil projects that of all advanced-vehicle technologies, hybrids will offer the best value for consumers. By 2030, ExxonMobil expects that, on average, hybrid vehicles will cost about $1,500 more than a similar-sized conventional vehicle, whereas a compressed-natural-gas (CNG) vehicle will be nearly $4,000 more, and an electric vehicle will be $12,000 more.

The Outlook projects that demand for energy for commercial transportation—trucks, airplanes, ships and trains—will rise by more than 70%, driven by economic growth, particularly in Non OECD nations.

ExxonMobil expects that heavy duty vehicles will grow significantly more fuel-efficient over the next 30 years. However, these improvements will be partially offset by operating factors such as increased road congestion and evolving delivery trends. As a result, by 2030, the world will use more fuel for trucks and other heavy duty vehicles than for all personal vehicles combined. By 2040, heavy duty fuel demand will be up about 60 percent versus 2010.

This shift will be reflected in the market for transportation fuels. Demand for diesel—the most popular fuel for heavy duty vehicles—will rise by 85 percent through 2040, while gasoline demand will fall by about 10 percent.

—ExxonMobil Outlook

xom outlook 2
Transportation fuel demand. Source: ExxonMobil Outlook. Click to enlarge.

Demand for oil and other liquid fuels will rise by nearly 30%, and most of that increase will be linked to transportation. A growing share of the supplies used to meet liquid-fuel demand will come from deepwater, oil sands, tight oil, natural gas liquids and biofuels.

As in previous editions of The Outlook for Energy, rising demand for electricity is identified as the single largest influence on energy trends. ExxonMobil projects that global electricity demand will rise by 80% through 2040 as economies and living standards improve, and consumers switch to electricity from other sources such as oil, coal or biomass. By 2040, four out of every 10 units of energy produced in the world will be going toward the production of electricity.

The mix of fuels used to produce electricity will change significantly. By 2040, 30% of the world’s electricity will be produced using natural gas, while demand for coal will peak and experience its first long-term decline in modern history. ExxonMobil estimates that natural gas from shale and similar sources will account for 30% of global gas production by 2040.

Among this year’s other findings:

  • While demand in the United States and other fully developed economies will remain relatively constant, global growth in energy demand will be led by China and other countries which are not part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Non OECD energy demand is projected to rise by nearly 60 percent from 2010 to 2040.

  • While global energy demand is expected to rise by about 30% from 2010 to 2040, demand growth would be approximately four times that amount without projected gains in efficiency. Efficiency is the key reason why energy demand will rise by only about 1% a year on average even as global GDP rises by nearly 3% a year. It also is the reason why OECD energy demand will remain relatively unchanged through 2040 even as its economic output nearly doubles.

  • Natural gas will continue to be the fastest-growing major fuel, and demand will increase by about 60% from 2010 to 2040. Growth is particularly strong in the Non OECD countries in the Asia Pacific region, where demand for natural gas is expected to triple over the next 30 years.

  • While growth in nuclear capacity is expected to slow in the near-term, demand for nuclear power is projected to nearly double over The Outlook for Energy period as nations seek to lower emissions and diversify energy sources.

  • Renewable fuels will see strong growth. By 2040, more than 15 percent of the world’s electricity will be generated by renewable fuels—solar, wind, biofuels, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric power. The fastest-growing of these will be wind, which will increase by about 8% per year from 2010 to 2040.

Developed using a combination of public and proprietary sources, The Outlook for Energy guides ExxonMobil’s global investment decisions. Many of its findings are similar to those from other organizations, including the International Energy Agency.




Electric cars barely cost $12,000 more than petrol ones now, so this is absurd.

In other news, the idea that with modern computer control we need to burn vast amounts of fossil fuel and have huge fleets of lorries tearing up our roads in 2040 with significant expenses in truckers wages also makes no sense.

Computer controlled capsules in tubes avoid all this, and reduce energy use by a factor of 50:


Apparently, ExxonMobel has decided to boycott the arrival of electrified & FC commercial vehicles and support inefficient ICE using more liquid fuel than today's. That's how they intend to work for the people?


Yo Exxon...Denial doesn't make it all go away.

Nick Lyons

Exxon's vision of the future: use more oil products, it's all good!

Liquid fuels are certainly handy. One possible future is to synthesize them using dirt cheap heat and electricity from gen IV/V nuclear reactors. If Exxon had long term vision, they would fund R&D for molten salt reactors and liquid fuel synthesis. This could keep them in the liquid hydrocarbon business forever.


Good idea Nick.


NASA (Langley Research Center) is convinced the non-radiative COP 1:6 source called LENR is the solution and recommend its development above all other energy sources.

Exxon and other oilcos see the writing on the wall and are preparing to exit the planet - after pillaging and plundering all they can. These are entities who linked to the old world banking system have enslaved the human race to single source petro-based energy. This is coming to an end. As is the fossil/banks industry rule.

THAT is good.


I wish someone would invent a better crystal ball


Reel, the fossil/banks industry rule coming to an end ? dream on it...sure oil might no longer be the only king as natural gas is growing but as 90% of our primary energy comes fossil fuels, it won't go away like that any time soon...


By 2030, ExxonMobil expects that [...] an electric vehicle will be $12,000 more.

ROFL. The deposit for a new 57 kWh battery pack for the Tesla Roadster 7 years down the line is.... wait for it.... $ 12,000.

Of course oil companies are in the business of selling BAU scenarios that keep the gravy train of subsidized hydrocarbon sales rolling.

Move on folks, nothing to see here. Just a bunch of old geezers stuck in the 20th century.


It is really a question of whether the world goes hybrid, plug in hybrid or pure EV.
There is more or less a continuoum between the three points, especially as you move from a small battery to a large battery PHEV.
The big advantage of liquid fuels (gasoline) is the fuelling speed (40 L/Minute) or 23 MW and capacity.
This is 460 times faster than a 50Kw electric charger and so enables long range continuous travel.
I would agree with the boys that it will be very efficient liquid fuelled vehicles, with varying amounts of hybridisation, and a minority of pure EVs.
- Unless there is a breakthrough in battery technology.


The Daimler NECAR was a fuel cell car running on reformed methanol. No problem filling up in a few minutes and if the methanol was made from biomass, the whole trip was CO2 neutral.


Stodgy old DOE says $250kWh batteries are 3 years away. I drove a Leaf yesterday where they showed us their Level 3 charger providing 100% charge in 25 minutes. It was very nice (weird power display in dash but...)

So, okay, it's not gasoline. But if I can recharge half my battery in a 12.5 minute soda, Twinkie and pea stop TODAY - is progress gonna suddenly end??

AER is a fear-based threat oil is exploiting. But as people realize 100M AER is more than enough for 90% habitual driving - it will lose its threat.


Where's the years and $600M Exxon/Synthetic Genomics algae in this?



The recent news from Northwestern University is FAR more exciting. Layering graphene and silicon and punching 10-20nm "nanoholes" throughout has reportedly improved performance 10X.

The comments to this entry are closed.