Report suggests 280 million electric bikes and mopeds are reducing global oil demand more than electric cars

149 days ago

3 minutes

Source: The Conversation

In a recent eye-opening report by The Conversation, the focus is on electric bikes and mopeds, revealing their remarkable impact on slashing oil demand, outpacing the effects of electric cars. The article notes that 44% of all Australian commuter trips are by car, particularly for distances under 10km, mirroring trends in wealthier countries like the United States, where 60% of car trips cover less than 10km.

Contrary to the assumption that electric cars are the go-to solution, the report highlights that for short trips, electric bikes and mopeds, collectively known as electric micromobility, prove to be a more economical and environmentally friendly option. Astoundingly, these micromobility options are displacing four times more demand for oil than all the world’s electric cars combined. This is largely attributed to their widespread adoption in China and other nations where mopeds are a prevalent form of transport.

The global landscape of electric vehicles (EVs) reveals a stark contrast. While there were over 20 million electric vehicles and 1.3 million commercial EVs on the roads last year, the numbers of two- and three-wheelers eclipse these figures with over 280 million electric mopeds, scooters, motorcycles, and three-wheelers. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that the sheer popularity of these smaller vehicles is already reducing oil demand by about 1% globally, equivalent to a million barrels of oil per day.

The report challenges the perception of electric cars as an unequivocal solution due to their space consumption, heavy reliance on electricity, and the environmental impact of battery production. In comparison, electric bikes and mopeds emerge as efficient, cost-effective alternatives, particularly for short-hop trips. For instance, commuting on an e-bike 20km a day, five days a week, costs approximately $20 annually in charging.

As electric micromobility gains traction globally, it offers a unique opportunity to reconsider urban transportation. Smaller electric options like scooters and skateboards address the last-kilometer problem in public transport systems, offering a swift solution for the inconvenient distance between home and transportation hubs. Studies suggest that widespread adoption of e-bikes could lead to a 7% reduction in transport emissions if they account for 11% of all vehicle trips.

In conclusion, as petrol prices rise and battery costs fall, the cost-effectiveness of electric micromobility, coupled with its potential to significantly cut urban emissions, challenges the dominance of electric cars. As global oil demand is projected to peak in 2028, the report suggests that electric micromobility might play a pivotal role in accelerating the decline, given its rapid adoption and cost advantages. Individuals are encouraged to reassess their transportation needs, considering electric bikes and mopeds for short trips, while keeping electric cars in mind for longer journeys or group outings.


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