See what’s in this year’s BP Energy Outlook

Written by: Simon Pavey, Last updated:19th January 2022

blorru photo of a road with several cars driving down and up it

See what the predictions are for the next 25 years in the 2018 BP Energy Outlook. This year’s comprehensive analysis breaks down energy supply and demand by sector, country, region and fuel type and explains how these trends will affect carbon emissions by 2040 – and what governments and industry partners are doing to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement.

The BP Energy Outlook is back with a comprehensive analysis of how the world’s energy consumption will change as it heads towards 2040. The past decade has seen major shifts in consumer and industrial behaviour that are likely to remain for the foreseeable future. The Outlook breaks down these changes across sectors, countries, regions and fuel types and explains how these trends will affect carbon emissions.

Where the world gets its energy from is set to become the most diverse it has ever been. By 2040, more oil, gas, coal, and non-fossil fuels will each account for roughly a quarter of energy supply. While the demand for oil is set to continuing rising, the usage of coal is likely to slowly drop off. I will be replaced by strong demand for natural gas, which is set to overtake coal as the second largest energy source in the coming years. Coal consumption in general seems to have plateaued and by 2040 it is highly likely that oil consumption will face a similar fate.

The fastest-growing energy sector is by far renewables, with India leading the way in renewable energy supply. It and other developing nations, especially China and other Asian countries, are continuing to report strong growth. Their increased energy consumption is likely to account for two-thirds of growth in energy supply and be responsible for a third of global energy demand by 2040. Meanwhile, China’s long-standing love affair with coal seems to be coming to an end.

Although green tech is surging, oil and gas still make up half of all energy usage, and this is likely to remain the case as natural gas demand increases. As global growth continues, demand for commercial buildings and transportation will rise, as too will the energy demand for cooling, lighting, and electrical appliances. Traditional energy sources will still be called upon to meet most of the growth in energy demand, although much of the growth in transportation fuel demand will be offset by efficiency gains from new technology.

To put those efficiency gains in perspective, in the EU in 2040, cars are expected to be up to 70% more efficient than they were in 2000. Not only will vehicles become more efficient, but many will be converted from fossil-fuel burning vehicles to electric, hybrid or hydrogen fuel models in the coming years. The number of electric cars is projected to grow to roughly 15% of the car parc, but due to their heavy usage will likely account for 30% of passenger vehicle kilometres.

Unfortunately, efficiency gains will not be enough to account for the overall growth in energy usage, and this increased demand will in turn lead to an increase in carbon emissions by 2040. At present, not enough is being done by global governments to meet Paris commitments, and pressure is being put on all parties involved to shift to an ‘even faster transition’ (EFT) scenario to tackle the problem. To learn more about the state of affairs and the major changes this year, have a look at the full Energy Outlook.

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