Most talk of reducing oil demand centers around getting more people to buy an electric vehicle, but it’s actually a much cheaper option that’s putting a bigger dent in dirty energy consumption worldwide.
It’s no secret that as demand for EVs generally continues to rise (as Nasdaq recently reported), the global demand for oil decreases, but it’s not the traditional electric car or truck that is having the most impact. Electric bikes, mopeds, scooters, motorcycles, and three-wheelers have already cut global demand for oil by 1 million barrels a day — about 1% of total demand worldwide, according to estimates by Bloomberg New Energy Finance cited by The Conversation.
In fact, the number of electric cars, trucks, vans, and buses on the road worldwide pales in comparison to the number of two- and three-wheel electric modes of transportation. There were just a little over 20 million larger EVs on the road in 2022, while there were over 280 million electric mopeds, scooters, motorcycles, and three-wheelers, per The Conversation.
Clearly, the smaller electric options aren’t the choice if you’re looking to take a road trip. However, if you generally only travel short distances in your everyday life, one of these options could save a lot of money.
In the United States in 2017, an estimated 60% of all car trips covered about 6 miles or less, per government data. Electric mopeds, bikes, and scooters cost a fraction of what a larger EV or gas-powered car costs. Further, they cost relatively very little to charge compared to charging a full-sized EV, and they save even more money compared to what it costs to fill up your car at the pump.
Much of those 280 million are from Asia and Africa, but the use of e-bikes in the U.S. is skyrocketing. In 2022, sales reached over $1.3 billion, an increase of 33% over 2021, and that trend is expected to keep heading in that direction, according to a report by the National Bicycle Dealers Association cited by Revi Bikes. Another study showed that if bicycles, e-bikes, and scooters reached the point where they accounted for 11% of transportation worldwide by 2030, transportation-caused pollution would fall 7%.
E-bikes, and other similar forms of transportation, serve another purpose for those looking to save money and cut back on pollution across comparably shorter commutes while at the same time not showing up to work looking disheveled.
Laura Fox, former general manager of New York City’s bike-sharing program, told The Atlantic, “I’ve had countless people come up to me and say, ‘I never thought that I could bike to work before, and now that I have an option where you don’t have to show up sweaty, it’s possible.’”
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