According to new analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, global sales of gas-powered cars may well have peaked in 2017, representing a significant milestone in the transition to electric vehicles.
Demand for gas cars dropped in 2018 and 2019, and then plummeted in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While sales are surely picking up as the pandemic ebbs, the increasing demand (and supply as well) for plug-in vehicles is likely to put gas-powered cars in a state of permanent decline.
Global EV sales are projected to go from 3.1 million last year to 14 million in 2025. The growth is being driven by falling battery prices, government policies, and increasing choices of vehicles. Virtually all automobile manufacturers are introducing electric vehicles over the next couple of years and increasing numbers of them are planning a complete transition to EVs in the near future. Projections are that EVs will account for the majority of new car sales by 2035.
While all this progress is encouraging, there are still over a billion gas- and diesel-powered cars on the road and the fleet turns over slowly. The current average operating life of cars here in the US is 12 years.
To reach the net-zero carbon emission goals by 2050 as many governments have mandated, additional policies and regulations will be needed. For example, electric cars will need to account for essentially all new sales by 2035, not just the majority. Reaching net-zero by mid-century will require all hands on deck, including trucks and heavy commercial vehicles that have barely started to become electrified.
Photo, posted December 23, 2017, courtesy of Davide Gambino via Flickr.