Sunday, May 07, 2023

Gasoline consumption, California and USA




I think the moderate drop after 2020, which appears to be continuing when comparing 2022 (so far) to 2021, masks a much larger and continuing drop in the SF Bay Area, a possibly slightly increased drop in the LA area, and significant increases in gas consumption in Central Valley. About 19% of new California vehicles in 2022 were zero emission, almost all of them BEVs. People owning multiple vehicles will preferentially drive BEVs over ICE vehicles because operational costs are lower. The overall vehicle fleet is nowhere near 19% BEV, but in terms of Vehicle Miles Traveled, BEVs will be over-represented.

More gist for my speculation that gas stations will become increasingly hard to find and make ICE vehicles increasingly inconvenient, something that would create a virtuous cycle. We'll see if this dynamic comes into play faster than the effect of California's banning new ICE vehicles in 2035 - I hope so, and in the US it's most likely to occur in the SF Bay Area. 




Not much of a recent trend, yet, although the slow rise up until 2005 has clearly stopped. Zero emission vehicles were 6% of all sales in 2022 and rising rapidly. I expect we'll see a decrease in a year or two, although that will mas bigger decreases in California and a few other state markets combined with some increases elsewhere. More than a few years out and there should be some big changes.

In a decade (sooner in some places), the effect of gas price shocks on the rest of the economy will be smaller than at any time since the 1950s. It can't come soon enough.


Mike Dombroski said...

Your last paragraph talks about gas price shocks. Gasoline is actually almost a byproduct of essential heavy distillates. The world is utterly dependent on diesel fuel and that includes all the mining for minerals needed for batteries. It remains to be seen how practical EVs will be, regardless of whether they can marginally or even substantially reduce the total cost of car ownership.

Phil said...

Remains to be seen, unless of course you drive an EV. Or live in Norway, where 80+ of new cars have been EVs for a while.

EVs are practical.

Where Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) has the largest disadvantage is short trips, like the tens of millions of commutes. Short and medium range deliveries is next, followed by long range trucking. Where fossil fuels (or perhaps synthetic e-fuels) will last the longest is transcontinental air traffic. Only a few possible battery technologies have the energy density for that.

Mike Dombroski said...

Automotive YouTuber Scotty Kilmer disagrees:

Phil said...

"Scotty Kilmer" is very good at hand waving. Does he have a real point? If so, what is it?

I'd guess good at clickbait articles to get paid for clicks. YouTube is full of inflammatory presentations of things that are not so, so I mostly don't bother.

I wish YouTube was around in 1910, to find the old horse guys comments on those new fangled carriages without real horses.

Does this link work for you?

Mike Dombroski said...

Norway is a country that got rich by drilling lots of offshore oil and has lots of hydro power. For the rest of the world check out what physicist Mark Mills has to say:

Phil said...

So what's your problem with EVs, anyway?

Practical? Well, EVs are practical. More convenient for commuting. Smooth, responsive and powerful. Quiet. Doesn't leave nasty smells in your garage. Less maintenance needed.

Cost reduce? As long as the battery cost curve continues, EVs are going to be not only lower running costs, and lower total cost of ownership, which they already have, but also lower initial purchase price.

Green? Yawn.

How about picking a topic, and we can discuss it.

Phil said...

No comments?

Let's talk about likely cost reduction by 2030. And let's talk class 8 trucks, the big boys.

"By 2030, the total cost of ownership of battery electric long-haul trucks will likely be lower than that of their diesel counterparts in all representative states considered in this analysis. Despite their higher upfront price, battery electric trucks have substantially lower operational expenses than the other trucks studied, as shown in Figure ES1. This is driven by the higher energy efficiency of battery electric powertrains and their lower maintenance costs."

So you are going to need to convince truckers that they need to take home less money. Good luck with that. To be fair I should point out that this is for a 400 mile delivery. Shorter distances favor the BEV even more, and longer distances will favor the BEV less. By 2040, the breakeven distance is about 800 miles, or somewhat less if the variability of distance is large. See Figure 20.

800 miles is about what is needed.

A large fraction of shipments are within a State. Transcontinental trucking needs to fit into the driving hour limit, and a single driver would find it hard to exceed 800 miles.

"Team trucking", with two drivers, would be the last hold out of diesel in trucking.

Phil said...


I yawned for the simple reason you don't care about green. Concern trolling is so very boring.

Sure, mining for battery material is a harm. So is drilling for oil. The main difference is that battery materials are recyclable. Oil isn't. Oh, and far more oil is needed than battery materials.

Phil said...

"The world is utterly dependent on diesel fuel " ...

Oh, how did we ever manage before diesel fuel? Like digging the Panama Canal, for example? Steam engines and coal were used in the past, but there are different ways to do anything. I'm sure that there was someone in 1913 saying that the world was utterly dependent on coal and steam. And that horses were far better than horseless carriages.

Oh, and more to the point, how can we manage without diesel fuel, as there is only so much crude oil under the ground. Even if we could burn all the fossil fuels without trashing the climate, fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource.

Sooner or later, we must manage without fossil fuels. This is a requirement to have a meaningful future, not an option.

Mike Dombroski said...

The world IS utterly dependent on diesel fuel and will be for quite some time. Mining is done with huge diesel trucks. Can they be made with electric motors? They already are and they get their electricity with onboard diesel generators! It's the same with diesel locomotives. The physics is that diesel weighs an order of magnitude less than batteries and can be loaded as fast as you can pump it in.

An electric car can and most likely does cost less over time than an ICE car, but they are still not the same thing. They have different characteristics -- different advantages and disadvantages. And EVs are going to have limited growth because of mining constraints.

Mike Dombroski said...

Will EVs take over the long haul trucking industry? It looks too early to tell. There's certainly advantages to electric motors, but extra battery mass and charging have to be taken into account. It looks like Pepsi's new Tesla semis are being used on short potato chip routes. I kind of suspect trucking will move to some sort of electric/hydrocarbon hybrid solution. Here's my take on the Tesla semi:

Barton Paul Levenson said...

MD: EVs are going to have limited growth because of mining constraints.

BPL: Look again.

Phil said...

The world is currently utterly dependent on diesel fuel and will be decades to come. Mining is currently done partly with huge diesel trucks. This will change over future decades. Electric power already supplies about 30% of energy used in mining, for things like milling, pumping and such.

Oh, and mining is about 3.5% of global energy use. We can tolerate using fossil fuels for this for a few centuries, as long we solve enough of the rest of the transition to renewable. Or longer, if we can get significant recycling.

The only unknown is time. The supply of crude oil to make diesel is limited. So eventually we run out of diesel fuel, and will need an alternative. When isn't exactly clear, of course. We can make electric power several ways that will last for as long as the Earth remains habitable. Far enough into the future, and diesel has either been replaced with electric power, or we are no longer an industrial civilization.

Actually, that's too simple. The price of diesel will increase as the crude oil price will increase as field sizes get smaller, the oil being pumped is harder to refine, the fields get deeper and so on. And that's totally ignoring climate change. Still we both need decades to complete a transition to renewable energy, and have decades to complete a transition. Including mining, a small part of the total.

The world was once utterly dependent on coal and steam engines. That changed. Change happens all the time.

Phil said...

Ah, the Tesla Semi. Not being a member of the Cult of Elon, I don't often defend him. I will not today.

You have missed some key points on range for trucks.

Most deliveries are local. A few hundred miles round trip or less. These are EV capable today. This is the market that Elon should have aimed at. And did not. Local warehouse to grocery store or shoe store or whatever. Fish from local port to restaurants. Charge at night, drive during the day. This market could be owned by getting a reliable EV trucks with enough range and low enough total cost of ownership.

Most long distance trucking is done a day at a time, and then the driver sleeps. If the truck can be recharged then, then range of about 800 miles is what is needed. A driver can't drive more that that in a day, so more range is pointless. Slower recharge is more efficient and can go to higher levels of charge at the same rate. 800 mile range isn't there yet, will need batteries that are in prototype manufacturing today, will be a few years before are available in volumes, and more years before cheap and proven. 1500 mile range is pointless in many cases.

Richard Mercer said...

Much of long distance freight could be shifted from trucks to much more efficient rail. 27% of U.S. rail capacity is now used to haul coal, which is on its way out. Coal generated 52% of U.S. electricity in 1998 and is now closer to 20%.

Geothermal projects can be sources of lithium and other minerals and rare metals for batteries, with less environmental impact than current mining methods.
The Salton Sea geothermal project is a good example.

8 billion tons of coal mined every year
4.3 billion tons of oil extracted every year.
They pretty much get used up right away.
EV batteries last about 15 years.

Currently 80,000 tons of lithium mined per year. Even considering the need for 30-40 times that much if all cars are EVs, the oil and coal are still thousands of times more.

EV batteries can serve as stationary grid backup after their use in cars.

"NREL research confirms that after being used to power a car, a Li-ion battery retains approximately 70% of its initial capacity—making its reuse a valuable energy storage option for electric utilities, before battery materials are recycled."

"Most batteries will become available for second use at the end of the expected PEV service life of approximately 15 years. NREL studies show that these batteries—with as much as 70% of their initial capacity—potentially can continue to operate for another 10 years in second use as energy storage for utilities, translating into a total service life of up to 25 years."
Green Car Congress