THE FUTURE OF THE AUTOMOBILE IN AN OIL-SHORT WORLD

World automobile trends are discussed, as well as future oil supplies and prices, and alternative fuels. More efficient automobiles and alternatives to the automobile are discussed, and comments are made on the difficult policy choices. Rapid adoption of the automobile by third world countries will keep the fleet expanding at a fairly rapid pace. However, gasoline prices will increase economic and political pressures on this expansion. It is expected that both the role and design of the automobile will be shaped by the price of gasoline. While the technology to produce alternative fuels (alcohol, liquid fuels from coal, and oil tar sands or oil shale) are relatively well known, they all face serious economic, environmental or social problems which may place constraints on their large-scale use. Electric vehicles have the basic problem that they cost more but do less than conventional automobiles. New cars in 1985 will be able to travel 27.5 miles per gallon but the average mpg for the total U.S. fleet will be much lower. Far greater economy could be achieved by matching vehicle power to actual requirements. Non-technological means such as doubling the number of occupants and enforcing speed limits would result in greater energy conservation. The development of mass transit, bicycle usage, bus priority treatments, restriction of auto use (as in Singapore) could be alternative strategies. Two fundamental trends are shaping the future of the automobile: the levelling of world oil production and the projected increase in the essential uses of oil.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Worldwatch Institute

    1776 Massachusetts Avesnue, NW
    Washington, DC  USA  20036
  • Authors:
    • Brown, L R
    • Flavin, C
    • NORMAN, C
  • Publication Date: 1979-9

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 64 p.
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00308116
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: No. 32
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 5 1980 12:00AM