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Chinese electric buses making biggest dent in worldwide oil demand

While electric cars are displacing global oil demand at increasing rates, new research shows electric buses are making a much bigger mark overall thus far.

Electric vehicles have displaced about 3 percent of total oil consumption growth since 2011, a larger share than ever before. And so far, more than three-quarters of that oil displacement has come from electric buses, Bloomberg reports.

The report estimates that “for every 1,000 electric buses on the road, 500 barrels of diesel are displaced each day.” The same number of battery-powered electric vehicles only displaces 15 barrels of oil a day, by comparison.

Most of this is occurring in China, Bloomberg notes. A report last year found that of about 385,000 electric buses in the world in 2017, about 99 percent of them were in China, with rapid growth still taking place. The city of Shenzhen alone announced in 2017 that it had completely electrified its fleet of 16,000 buses.

Bloomberg estimates that gas and diesel displacement will increase 96,000 barrels a day this year due to EVs, making the lost cumulative demand 352,000 barrels a day since 2011. But global oil demand is also on the rise, growing 12 million barrels a day over the same period.

Future estimates see a much larger impact, as EVs could displace 6.4 million barrels of demand each day by 2040.

Bus Plus

China is far and away the leader in electric buses, but that doesn’t mean other countries are sitting on the sidelines.

Delhi, India recently approved an order for 1,000 electric buses, according to a report from Mercom India. The Delhi government noted, “This is the largest such commitment so far by any Indian city and for any city outside of China.”

A number of American cities and universities have unveiled their electric bus fleets in recent years. And in 2017, 12 major global cities agreed to buy only all-electric buses starting in 2025.

Electrek’s Take

It makes sense that electric buses would have a greater overall effect on oil demand than EVs at this point. Buses run for most of the day, and ICE buses aren’t the most fuel-efficient vehicles, to say the least.

A move to e-buses is making a difference, and that’s before you consider the much needed environmental benefits: most of these buses run in urban areas, so they help to cut down on both air and noise pollution in cities. We hope more cities and regions across the world see what China is doing, and follow suit.

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Phil Dzikiy is an Editor/Writer with Electrek/9to5Mac. Tips: