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Friday, 25 March 2016

How Much Demand Deconstruction From EVs?

Lower Forever: Electric Cars and the Inevitable Reality of the Oil Market


Proponents of the Electric Car are already convinced that the advent of cars with plugs will ultimately spell doom for the Big Oil companies and countries that rely on oil exports.  Meanwhile the oil industry, led by OPEC, is expecting steady growth through at least 2040.  But what will it take for the rest of the market to “see the light” and accept the fact that demand for oil will soon peak and slowly erode?
In this report I will examine the fundamentals of oil demand destruction from a markets perspective.  Using a combination of conservative estimates, educated guesses, and market insights I will quantify the amount of PEV sales needed to cause enough oil demand destruction necessary to change the long term outlook of the oil market.  Furthermore, assuming an “S” shaped growth curve I will provide insights as to how long it might take for this shift in market psychology to occur.
n late 2014 through 2015 a worldwide oversupply of crude oil existed mostly in the order of 1 to 2 million barrels per day according to the EIA.  WTI Crude Oil sold off from well over $100 in mid-2014 to under $27 a barrel in February of 2016.  As a result of the prolonged oversupply and pricing pressure, oil companies drastically slashed capital expenditures, reduced workforces and reluctantly accepted the “lower for longer”mantra.
But what would it take for the market to accept what electric car advocates already believe – that prices and demand for oil will remain Lower Forever?  To begin with, the market needs to observe enough oil demand destruction to conclude that electric cars are having a significant impact on market fundamentals.  If this can be observed in the context of an “S” shaped growth curve, market participants will quickly realize that oil will soon reach Peak Demand and then begin falling.  A huge psychological threshold will be crossed when electric cars beginning displacing about 50% of annual oil demand growth.  At that point it will be pretty obvious that oil consumption will inevitably begin a steady decline.

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