Self-driving cars hold the potential to precipitate a rapid shift away from traditional gasoline cars, accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles and reducing oil demand.
Even those that do not buy or ride in AVs will feel some of these benefits: Reduced congestion, enhanced access, increased time and less transportation costs.
Fully deployed AVs can save 80,000 barrels of oil a day.
AV technology is expected to reduce fuel consumption in the trucking sector by 20 percent.
If the deployment of AVs reduced oil use by 25 percent, that would represent a decrease in U.S. oil demand of 2 million barrels per day (Mbd). Under current market conditions, that drop in demand would drive the world oil price down by approximately $2.15 per barrel.
The energy security premium—the expected reduction of expected GDP loss from oil supply disruptions—would yield savings of $3.5 billion per year (assuming the same 25 percent reduction in oil use). If AVs replaced gasoline-powered vehicles for 67 percent of passenger miles, U.S. gasoline consumption would fall by 5.5 Mbd and the impacts would be even greater.
AVs hold the potential to unshackle the transportation sector from the constraints associated with oil dependence.