Forecast: In 2030, gasoline will still power 7 out of 10 new U.S. vehicles

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2019 Audi e-tron first drive  -  Abu Dhabi UAE, December 2018

2019 Audi e-tron first drive - Abu Dhabi UAE, December 2018

Given the daily churn of electric-car announcements, major manufacturing investments, and battery supply-chain news, it could be a little hard to understand one reality-check projection: that even in 2030, a solid majority of vehicles sold could still burn fossil fuel.

Last week, LMC Automotive, a consulting firm with a strong reputation for its market forecasts, rounded up some of its current estimates. It anticipates that in the U.S. non-hybrid internal combustion vehicles will still make up 69 percent of the new-car market in 2030.

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The biggest reality check, LMC says, will come for India, where its government said in 2017 that the entire market there will be electrified by 2030. The current 2030 target of 30 percent applies to a wide range of vehicle types, but LMC anticipates that just 3 percent of light vehicles in India will be electric by then.

In the U.S., on the way to 2030, LMC estimates that vehicles with internal combustion engines will lose one to three percent of market share per year. But battery electric vehicles will still make up just 7 percent of the U.S. market in 2030, with hybrids, in various forms, at 23 percent. 

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China will be one of the few markets in which the firm anticipates that electric vehicles will be the majority. In 2030, fossil-fueled vehicles there will add up to about 48 percent of the market.

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It should be noted that LMC’s predictions correspond roughly to other industry forecasts for this sector, and that many analysts have pointed out that the massive growth for EVs may start to taper off in the later part of the next decade, when costs may quit falling as quickly for battery production and charging infrastructure. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, for instance, sees electric cars as making up 55 percent of the global market by 2040.

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In the U.S., outside of regulatory outcomes, low fuel prices and the slower migration of pickups and trucks to electric could limit the rate of change. And on a fleet basis, even those traditional, non-hybrid vehicles are likely to be far more efficient than they are today.

This story was updated on April 2, 2019, to reflect additional data from LMC. 

 
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