Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The cost of solar energy technology is expected to fall within the next decade, giving a boost to the industry. (Photo: Oregon Department of Transportation/flickr/cc)

Electric Cars and Surging Solar Spell Market Doom for Fossil Fuels

Analyses show how demand for electric vehicles and rapidly falling renewable energy prices could take down oil and gas industry

Jessica Corbett

As an increasing number of nations make plans for banning gas and diesel vehicles within the coming decades, and drivers gain an awareness of the benefits associated with electric vehicles, researchers are prediciting notable consequences for dirty energy sources as the public shifts toward favoring renewable alternatives.

"Post-2025, that's where electric car sales take off. The further you go into the future, the more it's electric cars," Alan Gelder, a senior analyst for the research group Wood Mackenzie, told the Guardian. "If cities began banning cars with a combustion engine, that would rapidly accelerate the switch to electric vehicles."

Drivers transitioning to electric vehicles out of necessity, because of such bans—which multiple European nations plan to implement in the next 15-25 years—and efforts by governments to increase fuel efficiency regluations, is only part of what is fueling the blossoming electric vehicle market.

Auto manufacturers are also taking cues from the increased demand due to bans and enhanced regulations as well as consumer desire for more environmentally friendly vehicles, as Business Insider detailed in May.

These efforts by governments to limit emissions and by automakers to meet the rising demand for electic vehicles are expected to substanitally impact the oil and gas industry in the coming years.

Wood Mackenzie estimates global gasoline prices will peak then start to fall by 2030, though Gelder posits "the ripples of gasoline's plateau would be felt much earlier," as fossil fuel companies take fewer investment risks once demand for gas ebbs.

"While gasoline will peak first," the newspaper notes, "the analysts expect total oil demand to plateau about 2035, as growth is hit by climate change policies and developing world economies maturing."

gasoline demand by 2030

Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry is also taking a hit from the solar energy market—which is booming in the U.S. and elsewhere, and is expected to continue doing well over the next decade. The head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) told Reuters the industry expects the costs of solar power to fall a notable amount over the next 10 year.

"In the next decade, the cost of (utility scale) solar could fall by 60 percent or more," IRENA director general Adnan Amin said.

The Trump administration is currently weighing whether to increase taxes on imported solar materials, after the U.S. International Trade Commission determined in September that cheap imports had been harmful to U.S.-based solar companies.

Amin criticized the possible increased taxation as short-sighted, considering the growing global demand for solar products and renewable alternatives to oil and gas.

"It's not always the best strategy to try to protect your industry and have high prices," Amin said, "because in the long-term what you want to do is drive down the cost of energy."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'All of Rail Labor Is Going to Suffer': Workers Furious Over Biden Move to Preempt Strike

"This is a legacy-defining moment for Joe Biden," said Railroad Workers United. "He is going down as one of the biggest disappointments in labor history."

Jake Johnson ·


Citing Need for 'New, Inclusive Leadership,' Chuy García Files for Chicago Mayoral Race

"We have an opportunity to elect a trusted and experienced leader with a history of building coalitions and a vision for a brighter future for all Chicagoans," said the Democratic congressman.

Jessica Corbett ·


On Cyber Monday, Climate Activists Take Aim at Fashion Industry

"The fashion industry is one of the largest polluting industries globally. We can all do better, but it's on companies to make this industry better for workers, the planet, and consumers alike."

Jessica Corbett ·


Biden Accused of Selling Out Rail Workers by Urging Congress to Prevent Strike

"Biden is siding with corporate rail bosses over the rank-and-file workers who voted against this agreement," said one progressive commentator after the president urged lawmakers to take action to force through a deal without paid sick leave.

Brett Wilkins ·


Analysis Finds State Legislators Proposed 306 Bills Targeting Trans People in Past 2 Years

"Right-wing state lawmakers are obsessed with taking away the rights of trans people and we're obsessed with knocking them out of public office," said one rights group.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo