A new study finds that from April to July American households spent an extra $6 billion to power their homes after a 10% rise in residential electricity use during the pandemic. To reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, roughly one-third of Americans are working from home. As a result of... Read more →


Democrats continue to drive less than Republicans in response to the pandemic

by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. In two recent analyses, I have shown that, during the pandemic, the decrease in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the states with preference for Democrats was greater than in the states with preference for Republicans. This was the case in both March 2020 (the... Read more →


The UK’s driving population has veered towards increased environmental consciousness, with 76% of the population admitting that they are aware of the environmental impacts of driving. However, a recent survey by RingGo, the UK’s leading cashless parking provider, found that only two-fifths of UK drivers say that they are planning... Read more →


Who is driving less in response to the pandemic, Democrats or Republicans? A June update

by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. In a recent analysis, I have shown that in March 2020 (the first month with the pandemic), the decrease in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the states with preference for Democrats was greater than in the states with preference for Republicans. The present analysis... Read more →


Quantifying the recently changed relationship between e-commerce and traditional retail sales

by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. In a recent article, I have shown that, in the United States, despite a large increase in e-commerce retail sales, traditional retail sales (adjusted for population and inflation) have stayed virtually unchanged from 2015 through 2019. Specifically, during that time period, the annual increases... Read more →


MITEI Mobility Systems Center awards four projects for low-carbon transportation research

The Mobility Systems Center (MSC), one of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)’s Low-Carbon Energy Centers, will fund four new research projects that will allow for deeper insights into achieving a decarbonized transportation sector,including Covid-19 and urban mobility; strategies for electric vehicle charging networks; and infrastructure and economics for hydrogen-fueled transportation.... Read more →


How have our expenditures on motor vehicles changed during the pandemic?

by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. In this study, I examined the relative expenditures on motor vehicles in the United States from March through June 2020—the first four months of the current pandemic. The raw data for the calculations—seasonally adjusted dollar amounts of sales for each month—came from the U.S.... Read more →


Baker Institute expert says regional advantages will define future energy transitions

Different countries will respond in different ways to the challenges of economic growth and environmental sustainability based upon their regional advantages, according to a new paper by an expert in the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. The COVID-19 pandemic has added pressure to... Read more →


Differential effects of the current pandemic on the sales of light-duty vehicles and heavy trucks

by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. Light-duty vehicles (cars and light trucks) are being purchased primarily by individuals, while heavy trucks by companies. Therefore, an examination of the recent changes in the sales of vehicles in these two classes provides some information about the economic impact (both actual and anticipated)... Read more →


IHS Markit says outlook for crude oil prices strengthens through 2021

Oil markets have returned to relatively stable ground with Brent prices within a narrow $40-$45 per barrel range and could conclusively pass the $50 per barrel mark in the second half of 2021, according to Roger Diwan and the IHS Markit Energy Advisory Service. The IHS Markit Brent price outlook... Read more →


Ipsos global study finds vehicle owners continue to show interest in self-driving technology despite COVID-19

An Ipsos Auto Global Study has found that new vehicle owners in US, China, EURO5 and Brazil desire autonomous functionality in their next vehicle. We have been through more than four months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are getting signals of a “new normal.” Many employers have encouraged their... Read more →


Large improvements of air quality in China during the lockdown have been widely reported, but new research shows that two pollutants harmful to human health—fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone—were only slightly reduced. The study, by scientists from the University of Leeds, UK and the Southern University of Science and... Read more →


ABI: connected car market will endure a 15% shipment decline, flat revenues in 2020; sales return on trend early 2022

After years of consistent growth, the connected vehicle industry will face a 15% decline in shipments and flat revenues in 2020, according to projections by ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm. However, both embedded and aftermarket segments will see accelerated growth in 2021, and sales should return to... Read more →


CIPS poll finds 15% of businesses will no longer maintain their plans for sustainable supply chains due to the impact of COVID-19

A short poll by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) has found that the disruption caused by COVID-19 will lead to permanent changes in global supply chains, as businesses look to adapt to new ways of working and managing the varying stages of lockdown around the world. This... Read more →


Industry survey finds >57% of auto tech leaders expect COVID-19 to increase consolidation; >85% predict lasting impact on shared mobility

A global survey of more than survey found that more than 120 auto tech leaders by Informa Tech Automotive Group found that 57% expect that COVID-19 will quicken the pace and rate of consolidation within the automotive industry. In addition, with an increased reluctance to use public transportation, more than... Read more →


A team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Aramco Services Company, MIT, the Michigan Department of Transportation and Argonne National Laboratory has developed a machine-learning-based model (Pandemic Oil Demand Analysis, PODA) to project the US medium-term gasoline demand in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and to study the impact... Read more →


Flying declined substantially more than driving during the current pandemic

by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. In this brief note, I examine the distances traveled by flying and driving in the United States in March and April 2020—the first two months of the current pandemic—and compare them with the corresponding distances in March and April 2019. The raw data for... Read more →


US airlines carried 89% fewer scheduled service passengers in May 2020 than in May 2019, according to preliminary data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 20 airlines that carry more than 90% of the passengers. Source: DOT BTS. Despite the large drop from May 2019, US airlines... Read more →


York study finds post-lockdown UK traffic getting back to normal but air remains cleaner as congestion is down

Air pollution is lower than expected in some of the UK’s towns and cities, despite a return to almost normal traffic levels, according to a new study by researchers at the University of York. The study’s findings show that while road traffic is getting back to pre-lockdown levels, some concentrations... Read more →


European automakers request 6-month postponement of new Euro standards due to COVID-19

Mike Manley, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and the current European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) president, has sent a letter to Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission, requesting a 6-month postponement of the application dates of key upcoming EU standards,... Read more →


OPIS: US gasoline demand more than “halfway” back from pandemic-induced lows

Gasoline consumption in the United States is now more than halfway back to pre-COVID-19 levels as motorists get back on the road amid at least a partial recovery of the US economy, according to OPIS, an IHS Markit company. Fill-ups at the pump hit the rock bottom in the second... Read more →


Fewer wild animals, including threatened mountain lions, are becoming roadkill during shelter-in-place orders, according to a study on three states from the University of California, Davis. Using traffic and collision data collected from California, Idaho and Maine, the researchers found that wildlife-vehicle conflict has declined by 21-56 percent from early... Read more →


BYD has completed the delivery of 10 battery-electric K9S buses to Link Transit in Wenatchee, Washington, a milestone for the company as production ramps up following a temporary plant closure in Mid-March from the COVID-19 pandemic. The final two buses of the order were recently delivered, joining the eight others... Read more →


by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. This note examines the sales of all new light-duty vehicles (cars and light trucks) in the United States in March, April, and May 2020—the first three months of the current pandemic—and compares them with the sales in February 2020. The raw data were annualized,... Read more →


The COVID-19 pandemic has set in motion the largest drop in global energy investment in history, with spending expected to plunge in every major sector this year—from fossil fuels to renewables and efficiency—the International Energy Agency said in a new report. Energy investment is set to fall by one-fifth in... Read more →


Who is driving less? Democrats or Republicans?

by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. The latest data from the Federal Highway Administration on the amount of driving in the United States indicate that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in March of this year decreased by 18.6% compared with March 2019. However, the decrease in VMT varied widely by states,... Read more →


The Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLOCAT) has published a preliminary analysis of the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on passenger mobility in urban environments. The analysis looks at how different regions and income groups are affected, and seeks to provide a preliminary answer to the question of... Read more →


BloombergNEF (BNEF) forecasts that sales of electric passenger vehicles will fall 18% in 2020 to 1.7 million worldwide, with the coronavirus crisis interrupting ten successive years of strong growth. However, sales of combustion engine cars are set to drop even faster this year (by 23%), and the long-term electrification of... Read more →


A preliminary analysis of global data has found that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel sources reached a maximum daily decline of 17% in April as a result of drastic decline in energy demand that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Percentage change in global daily fossil CO2 emissions, Jan-May... Read more →


Teletrac Navman big-data analysis of driving behaviors for the initial five weeks of federal COVID-19 emergency

Teletrac Navman, a global software-as-a-service provider that leverages location-based technology and services for managing mobile assets, has issued a report of driving behaviors across millions of miles driven by a sample of its connected vehicles in the US during the first 36 days of the federal declaration of emergency due... Read more →


The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that US energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decline by 11% in 2020. If realized, this decline would represent the largest decline in not only percentage but also absolute terms in EIA’s energy-related CO2 series that dates back to 1949. Source: U.S. Energy... Read more →


Levels of two major air pollutants have been reduced significantly since lockdowns began in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a secondary pollutant—ground-level ozone—has increased in China, according to new research. Two new studies in AGU’s journal Geophysical Research Letters find nitrogen dioxide pollution over northern China, Western Europe and... Read more →


Juniper: Mobility-As-A-Service users to grow over fivefold between 2019 and 2021, despite ongoing pandemic

A new study from Juniper Research has found that the total number of MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service) platform users (which integrates different transport services, including buses, taxis, rail and metro into a single app), will grow by more than fivefold by 2021 compared with 2019. This means the market will reach more... Read more →


European automotive sector calls for vehicle renewal incentives to kickstart economic recovery after COVID-19; 25-point action plan

The response to COVID-19 is having a major impact on the economy, with retail and manufacturing activity crippled without precedence and concerns mounting on consumer sentiment. The European automotive sector, which has been hit particularly badly, is proposing a plan comprising 25 actions to support a strong restart of the... Read more →


ACEA asks Euro NCAP for two-year delay for introduction of 2022 protocols

In a letter to the Secretary General of the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP), the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA), requested a 2‐year delay for the introduction of the 2022 protocols due to the projected lengthy time that will be needed to recover from the effects of... Read more →


A new report from the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis has found that total US vehicle miles traveled (VMT) at the county and state level have declined by 61% to 90% following the various government stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using data from... Read more →


IHS Markit: global auto sales to drop 22% this year

IHS Markit cut its forecasts for global light vehicle sales and production as the impact COVID-19 impact has depressed demand. According the new analysis, global light vehicle sales are now forecast to be 69.6 million units this year in the wake of the pandemic, a 22% drop from last year.... Read more →


Continental postpones Vitesco powertrain business spin-off due to economic uncertainty in pandemic

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting ongoing economic uncertainty, Continental’s Executive Board has decided not to implement the planned spin-off with listing of the powertrain business Vitesco Technologies this year and to complete this step as soon as the market environment has improved noticeably and is more stable.... Read more →


Honda begins making vital ventilator parts for Dynaflo

Honda has begun producing and delivering critical components for the production of much-needed ventilators to Dynaflo Inc. of Reading, Penn. Honda teamed up with Dynaflo to increase Dynaflo’s production of diaphragm compressors, a key component of portable ventilators that are used in hospitals and by first responders throughout the country... Read more →


Omdia: Power semiconductor market set for 6.9% decline in 2020 as COVID-19 hits smartphones & automotive

The global power semiconductor market is set for a steep decline in 2020 as demand for these components plunges from the key markets of smartphones and automotive electronics due to the COVID-19 crisis, according to Omdia. Omdia is a global technology research house established following the merger of the research... Read more →


JATO: global vehicle sales fall by 39% in March; electrified vehicles up to 17.4% new registration market share in Europe

The outbreak of COVID-19 has already impacted the automotive industry significantly, according to JATO Dynamics, a leading provider of global automotive data and insight. Global vehicle sales totalled 5.55 million units in March 2020, down by 39% from March 2019. This represents the largest year-on-year monthly decrease since 1980, when... Read more →


Russian titanium producer VSMPO-AVISMA has cut its 2020 production plans by some 32% in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on key end-use markets. Citing the implications of a collapse in air travel on the need for new aircraft and repairs to the existing fleet, along with production... Read more →


In March 2020, demand for new commercial vehicles fell by 47.3% across the EU, as measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 lead to the closure of dealerships, according to the ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association). Each vehicle segment was strongly affected by the fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak and... Read more →


Compared to “business-as-usual”, by September 2020 international air passenger totals could drop by as many as 1.2 billion travellers according to the latest projections from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO ran two projections compared to baseline: V-shaped path (a first sign of recovery in late May); and U-shaped... Read more →


ARPA-E reopens SCALEUP application period with reduced cost share requirements

In December 2019, ARPA-E issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for a new program, Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential (SCALEUP). (Earlier post.) The SCALEUP program aims to support the scaling of high-risk and potentially disruptive ARPA-E funded technologies across the full spectrum of energy applications.... Read more →


COVID-19 outbreak poised to strengthen EV momentum and the markets for cobalt and copper

by Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, Co-Chair of the Global Battery Alliance. Over the past couple of years, the drive towards electric vehicles has been relentless, with tens of billions of dollars committed to the electrification of new model offerings. Automakers have faced two major hurdles. First, the... Read more →


As COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide, the pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on the global economy and commodity markets, including cobalt. With countries imposing prevention and control measures against the virus, a number of cobalt-producing operations have been temporarily closed for maintenance since March. Roskill has so far recorded... Read more →


In response to a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kia Motors has begun the production of face shields at its manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia. Initial donations of medical use face shields assembled at Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) will be made... Read more →


A study by an international team of researchers led by Aalto University finds that less than one-third of the world’s population could currently meet their demand for food with food produced in their local vicinity. The paper is published in the journal Nature Food. Globalization has revolutionized food production and... Read more →


The first VOCSN V+Pro critical care ventilators produced by General Motors and Ventec Life Systems in Kokomo, Indiana (earlier post) are being delivered by UPS to Franciscan Health Olympia Fields in Olympia Fields, Illinois and Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago at the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. With... Read more →