One of the world’s most influential oil consultancies has forecast that global oil demand will peak within 20 years, as a “tectonic” shift in the transport sector towards electric cars and autonomous vehicles gathers pace. Wood Mackenzie, which works closely with companies across the energy industry, said in its long-term outlook that it sees oil consumption topping out around 2036, an earlier date than many energy majors use in their scenario planning. Wood Mackenzie’s long-term energy outlook, which was given to clients in May but not yet reported on, comes as many of the world’s oil majors have begun to embrace the “ energy transition”, preparing for a future when oil demand is no longer steadily rising. But others have been more hesitant, chiefly ExxonMobil and giant state-owned oil companies like Saudi Aramco, who have pushed back against the idea that demand for their primary products could stop growing within the lifetimes of their top executives. Mr Rawl at Wood Mackenzie said the consultancy’s thinking on peak demand was driven by a renewed assessment of the impact of not just electric cars but growing signs that autonomous electric vehicles will play a major role in the future of transport. The improvement in fuel efficiency standards in conventional cars over the past decade has already had an effect, while the coming years should see the retirement of many older, gas-guzzling cars, leaving a less fuel-hungry fleet on the road. Other sources of oil demand are expected to show stronger growth, including petrochemicals, where companies are investing to meet rising demand for plastics in emerging markets. Financial Times

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