The Apocalypse Wagon

We assume that the fantasy fleets of China and India operate at much less than the average vehicle kilometrage per year of the EU6 (the core six nations), that is 22,000 km/vehicle/year.

The EU27, we can note, has a lower average annual kilometrage, but in all the European Union countries outside the "core group," average annual distances run are rising with economic growth.

Average fleet-wide car fuel consumption in Germany is 7.9 liters per 100 kilometers (L/100 km) and well above 12 L/100 km in the ultimate "role model" for motorization, the US. We could play "reasonable" and assume that the typical rate of annual oil demand for the Apocalypse Wagon is rapidly reduced in India and China, to two-thirds of the US benchmark, to about 8 L/100 km. We will also assume that India and Chinese cars will only travel 18,000 km/year. Annual oil burn per car is therefore around nine barrels/year.

Assuming that the Chinese and Indian fantasy fleet reaches 400 million units by 2025 (230 million in China and 170 million in India), and annual oil burn per vehicle is nine barrels (1,440 liters), daily average oil demand is as follows:

Chinese fleet of 2025: about 5.7 Mbd Indian fleet of 2025: about 4.2 Mbd Combined total: 9.9 Mbd

This relatively "low-case scenario" is above 40 percent of current total net exports of the OPEC group, but we can easily go further. If China attained ZPG (or zero population growth), at its current 1.25 billion, and India did the same (which is even less likely), but both countries attain the Motor Nirvana of US ownership rates (around 745 vehicles/1,000 population), their car fleets would number about 800 million vehicles (India) and 935 million vehicles (China). Even with a "technology optimist" scenario under which these fantasy fleets only consume about six barrels/year each, their total consumption explodes to about 10 billion barrels/year, or around one-third of the world's current total oil burn.

Continue reading here: The Apocalypse Wagon

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