Stanford Professor: Fossil-Fuel Vehicles Will Vanish in 8 Years in Twin ‘Death Spiral’ for Big Oil and Big Autos

May 18th, 2017

I very seriously doubt it.

Via: Financial Post:

No more petrol or diesel cars, buses, or trucks will be sold anywhere in the world within eight years. The entire market for land transport will switch to electrification, leading to a collapse of oil prices and the demise of the petroleum industry as we have known it for a century.

This is the futuristic forecast by Stanford University economist Tony Seba. His report, with the deceptively bland title Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, has gone viral in green circles and is causing spasms of anxiety in the established industries.

Seba’s premise is that people will stop driving altogether. They will switch en masse to self-drive electric vehicles (EVs) that are ten times cheaper to run than fossil-based cars, with a near-zero marginal cost of fuel and an expected lifespan of 1 million miles.

Only nostalgics will cling to the old habit of car ownership. The rest will adapt to vehicles on demand. It will become harder to find a petrol station, spares, or anybody to fix the 2,000 moving parts that bedevil the internal combustion engine. Dealers will disappear by 2024.

Cities will ban human drivers once the data confirms how dangerous they can be behind a wheel. This will spread to suburbs, and then beyond. There will be a “mass stranding of existing vehicles”. The value of second-hard cars will plunge. You will have to pay to dispose of your old vehicle.

It is a twin “death spiral” for big oil and big autos, with ugly implications for some big companies on the London Stock Exchange unless they adapt in time.

Report: Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030: The Disruption of Transportation and the Collapse of the Internal-Combustion Vehicle and Oil Industries

One Response to “Stanford Professor: Fossil-Fuel Vehicles Will Vanish in 8 Years in Twin ‘Death Spiral’ for Big Oil and Big Autos”

  1. quintanus Says:

    Yep. We can observe that societies aren’t able to adopt all the inventions and technologies that exist without an economic and social system to support it. Some good examples are century scale cycles of civilization and tribal living (such as Rome, and equivalent on other continents), or comparing the current level of technology use among different countries. If you don’t have an economy where everyone is able to participate and get paid, and a stable system of extracting resources, and trade between countries, then the system can all fall apart and few could purchase or make these things. In this case, there could be a feedback effect of eliminating the gas station, and driving industries on the ability of people to buy them. I suppose there would be an industry of people repairing them, but I’m cynical about the idea of a few companies controlling rented electric vehicles putting them at a price point where everyone can participate. Right now there are all sorts of cheap shortcuts which allow the bottom 20% to use old cars for transportation.

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