Fuel Fix fills us in on ExxonMobile’s annual energy outlook and what we can look forward to between now and 2040.

The company believes that global energy demand will grow 30% by 2040, but the use of coal to generate electricity will decline as countries switch to cleaner-burning natural gas. The developing economies of Latin America, China, India and Africa will drive the demand for electricity as these regions add more power for their expanding commercial and industrial sectors and rising populations.

ExxonMobile says that over the next 30 years most of global energy demand will be for electricity, which will gradually replace coal-based generation with natural gas, a result of a global push to reduce CO2 emissions. Natural gas will continue to be the fastest-growing major fuel with its demand rising by 60% from 2010 to 2040.

“After 2030, we see global coal demand declining for the first time in modern history,” says Bill Colton, ExxonMobil vice present of Corporate Strategic Planning.

The report predicts that by 2040, coal, oil and natural gas will supply nearly 80% of the world’s energy. Renewable fuels, primarily wind, will be the fastest growing energy sources, but they will remain a minor factor in the big picture, increasing from 1% today to 4% in 2040s.

The oil company also expects hybrid vehicles to have a significant impact on energy use. By 2040, hybrids should make up 40% of all automobiles and light-duty trucks.

Other highlights of the report are:

  • Gas from shale and other unconventional rock formations will account for 30% of global gas production by 2040.
  • Demand for oil and other liquid fuels will increase about 30%, and most of that rise will be for transportation. A growing share of the supplies used to meet liquid-fuel demand will come from deepwater locations, oil sands, tight oil, natural gas liquids and biofuels
  • Demand for energy for commercial transportation — trucks, airplanes, ships and trains — will rise by more than 70%.

You can read the report here.

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