By the year 2040 there is a one in two chance that you will be driving a hybrid vehicle.  Global demand for oil to power the world’s cars will demand that every other car put into production be a hybrid, in order to keep oil consumption in check.  By 2040 projections show that there will be 1.6 billion cars on the road, nearly double of what exists today.  In order to keep consumption at current levels, auto manufacturers and governments will be forced to make sure that every other vehicle is a hybrid.  At least this is what ExxonMobil predicts in their annual Outlook report that takes a look at the future of global energy demands and consumption.  According to Outlook, government fuel economy standards are the driving force that will make hybrids mainstream.  Manufacturers are responding to increasing vehicle fuel efficiency requirements by producing electric, plug-in hybrid, and alternative fuel power plants, but the most cost effective way to meet these goals is to use a hybrid powertrain. By 2040, hybrid vehicles will represent 50 percent of all vehicle sales, as opposed to 1 percent today. They’ll also be the cheapest solution, says ExxonMobil.  Hybrid vehicles increase fuel efficiency by using a battery to power an electric motor that assists a conventional gasoline engine in propelling a vehicle. However, the additional equipment that makes the vehicles more efficient also makes them more expensive. By 2030, ExxonMobil expects that, on average, hybrid vehicles will cost about $1,500 more than a similar-sized conventional vehicle. However, the 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is already sold for the same price, as it’s gas-only twin.  Outlook predicts that global energy demand will be about 30 percent higher in 2040 compared to 2010.

Photo Credit: John Vlahakis