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Your mileage may vary: The future of mobility and the downsizing of gasoline demand

How and how often we fuel our cars will play a major role in the emerging transportation ecosystem, especially given the rise of ridesharing, car-sharing, and self-driving. Advances in a range of industries—from materials science to computing power to artificial intelligence—as well as the emphasis on reducing greenhouse gases will further impact fuel usage. Stakeholders up and down the value chain need to prepare.

Driving toward the future

A century ago, obviously there were many fewer cars, drivers, and roads, but the template was already in place—including where those 1916 drivers stopped to fill their tanks. A decade earlier, the first filling station had been built, in St. Louis, and the number of pumps had risen—and would continue to rise—as Americans bought more cars and headed out on new highways. The numbers have fallen a bit from their peak (in every developed nation, not just the United States), but 110,000 or so stations still line US roads today. Drivers, as they always have, pull up alongside pumps, fill their vehicles’ tanks, and merge back into traffic.

But the emerging transportation ecosystem may, for the first time, broadly transform how we fuel our cars and trucks—and that means potentially dramatic changes for the industries that supply that fuel. What happens if and when consumers begin opting en masse for carsharing and ridesharing rather than private ownership? What about if and when most cars no longer run on gasoline?

Several interconnected trends—some technological, some social—are driving these changes. Advances in materials science, computing power and artificial intelligence, and a global emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emission have the potential to fundamentally change the American mobility ecosystem, with far-reaching implications for stakeholders throughout the value chain. New technologies such as plug-in hybrid drivetrains and improving battery efficiencies could rapidly increase the availability of low-carbon-emitting powertrains. Moreover, rising consumer interest in ridesharing and shifts in attitudes away from car ownership could accelerate widespread adoption of new technologies.

The future of mobility and the downsizing of gasoline demand

Advanced in complementary technology

As of September, Google’s self-driving vehicles had traveled 1.97 million miles,and other companies have made significant inroads as well, with Uber launching its own autonomous vehicle pilots in Pittsburgh in August 2016. And based on recent trends, vehicle battery costs across the industry could drop below $100 per kilowatt-hour within five years, making electric powertrains cost-competitive with traditional combustion engines in certain markets.

These advances are occurring within the broader development and application of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The rise of the “connected car” may thus enable effective use of other advancing and complementary technologies emerging within the broader IoT context. Service providers are working on apps and telecommunications infrastructure, and automakers are planning the next generation of connected vehicles.

Read on about 'modeling the impact of the future of mobility' and download the report "Your mileage may vary: The future of mobility and the downsizing of gasoline demand".

The future of mobility: Ben's journey

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More information on how developments within the mobility landscape affects your business, please contact Frank de Bont at +31 (0)88 288 1572 and via mail FdeBont@deloitte.nl. Interested in our latest reports on the Future of Mobility, visit our Future of Mobility platform where we will publish new research, reports and interviews with thought leaders.

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