As they eye the road to 2040, oil companies could get carsick. On the one hand, OPEC projects that the global car parc will reach 2.03 billion units by then-double the number crowding todays roads. Normally that would warm the hearts of crude oil producers, base oil refiners and automotive lube sellers.
Last May, however, the International Monetary Fund forecast that oil demand for all those passenger cars will essentially be flat over the period, poking along from 26.1 million barrels per day in 2020 to just 26.4 million b/d 20 years later. The IMF working paper, Riding the Energy Transition: Oil Beyond 2040, envisions a future where oil loses its role as the main fuel for transportation, due to accelerating consumer acceptance of alternative fuels, downsizing and electric powertrains.