Electric mobility displaces more oil than EV’s

We all do it. Hop in the car to go shopping, do the school run or some other short journey. The car is a convenient tool but these short trips (less than 5 miles) account for upto 70% of traffic on local roads. It’s a figure electric mobility can help with. Add in congestion, air and noise pollution and we begin to paint a picture. Hmmmm…the car maybe isn’t as convenient as car manufacturers would make you believe.

So what’s the solution? You might think switching to an electric vehicle is the obvious answer. Yes emissions are zero but you’ll still be contributing to congestion and the embedded carbon in them, something car manufacturers conveniently forget to tell consumers, is high. Reality check! EVs aren’t as green as you think! In fact, for short trips, an electric bike might be better for you—and for the planet. That’s because they are cheaper to buy and run, healthier and better for the environment.

However it’s more than that—they are actually displacing four times as much demand for oil as all the world’s electric cars at present, due to their staggering uptake in populous areas of the world like China.

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How can that be?

Over 20 million electric vehicles and 1.3 million commercial EVs such as buses, delivery vans, and trucks were in circulation around the globe last year.

But these numbers are wholly eclipsed by electric mobility. There were over 280 million electric mopeds, scooters, motorcycles, and three-wheelers on the road last year. Their sheer popularity is already cutting demand for oil by a million barrels of oil a day—about 1 percent of the world’s total oil demand, according to estimates by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

What about EV’s? After all, EVs have been heralded as a silver bullet for car emissions and air pollution in cities, as their tailpipe emissions are zero. If charged with renewable power, they get even greener. It’s a policy our politicians are actively pursuing to keep the car crowd happy. Logic that is flawed when the evidence and questionable green credentials of EVs point elsewhere.

EV’s are cleaner cars, but they are still cars, taking up space on the roads and requiring a lot of electricity to power them. Their batteries make them heavier than a traditional car and draw heavily on the extraction of rare earth elements. While EVs are overall much greener than internal combustion engine cars, battery manufacture undermines some of the claimed gains.

In addition, EV’s are cheaper to run but more expensive to buy.


Further Reading


What advantages do electric bikes have?

The electric mobility revolution is an opportunity to rethink how we move around our towns and cities—and whether we even need a car at all in these environments.

Cars often have only one occupant. It’s a lot of energy wasted transporting yourself relatively short distances in traffic.

By contrast, electric mobility uses a lot less energy to move people. They’re also a lot cheaper to buy and run than electric cars and obviously take up less space, freeing up our congested roads.

Of course, you’re unlikely to use electric bikes to drive long distances. Their real value is in short trips. Remember the 70% of them? The school run, shopping, or even the commute, where they often take roughly the same time or less than a car.

Researchers estimate that if e-bike trips expanded to 11% of all vehicle trips, transport emissions would fall by about 7 percent. In a race to achieve net-zero due to climate change, this is where policy should be focussing. Not EV subsidies for the rich.

As petrol prices increase and battery prices fall, the cheaper running costs of electric vehicles and even cheaper running costs of electric bikes, and scooters will keep eating away at the demand for oil. It’s clear, due to the havoc climate change is beginning to cause us globally, people are beginning to sit up an take note that we all need to do something. Compromising the comfort of a car isn’t as bad it may seem.

Global oil demand is now projected to peak in 2028 at 105.7 million barrels per day. and then begin to fall. The International Energy Agency the predict it will fall.

Electric vehicles will undoubtedly play a role in cutting oil demand. But evidence suggests that electric micromobility will cut demand faster, given how fast they are being taken up.

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What does this mean for me?

If you’re considering going electric, it’s worth reviewing your transport needs. What short journeys by car do you make? Can any be replaced by a bike? You don’t have to replace all of them in one go. One journey by bike, takes a car off the road. If you regularly drive long distances an EV may be necessary but for a lot of families that have second cars, dropping it in favour of an electric bike is where you can make a real difference.

The world has become drunk on cars. For generations, a combination of clever marketing and Government policy has had us believe that to get about, cars are the only way. Well now we know they’re not. In the future, I predict the bold leaders that prioritise Active Travel policy ahead of cars will be the winners for the human race, our towns, our cities and the planet.

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