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Annual Energy Outlook 2022

Release Date: March 3, 2022 Next Release Date: February 2023 AEO Narrative PDF
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Motor gasoline remains the most prevalent transportation fuel despite electric vehicles gaining market share

Figure 1.

Figure 1

Gasoline remains the dominant light-duty vehicle (LDV) fuel, but consumption does not return to pre-pandemic levels during the projection period

LDVs accounted for 54% of the energy consumed in U.S. transportation in 2021. Their share falls to 51% by 2050. LDV energy consumption generally decreases through 2038 and then increases through the end of the projection period. Total LDV sales do not return to 2019 pre-pandemic levels by 2050, and sales of conventional motor gasoline vehicles decrease through the projection period because of increasing sales of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs), and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs).

We project that the combined share of sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) LDVs―including gasoline, diesel, flex-fuel, natural gas, and propane powertrains―will decrease from 92% in 2021 to 79% in 2050 because of growth in sales of BEVs, PHEVs, and HEVs. Through the projection period, 200- and 300-mile BEV sales grow, increasing from 0.34 million in 2021 to 1.52 million in 2050, while sales of PHEVs increase from 144,000 in 2021 to 521,000 in 2050. PHEVs demonstrate fast growth and market penetration between 2021 and 2024. Growth in PHEV sales slows after 2024 as a result of declining battery prices, which pushes BEVs into the highest electric LDV market share. We project BEVs and PHEVs combined account for 13% of total LDV sales in 2050.

The on-road vehicle stock shifts more slowly than sales because electric vehicles replace older, retired ICE vehicles

We project that the total electric vehicle share―including BEVs and PHEVs―of on-road LDV stock grows from less than 3% in 2021 to 13% in 2050, based on current laws and regulations as of November 2021. This shift occurs even as the on-road LDV stock likely grows from 260 million to 288 million vehicles over that timeframe. Increased electrification of the on-road LDV fleet increases electricity consumption from less than 0.5% to more than 2% of total consumption of energy in the transportation sector between 2019 and 2050 in the Reference case.

Sales of conventional motor gasoline vehicles decrease through the projection period because of increasing sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).