Electric buses save 233,000 barrels of diesel a day

Electric buses are taking over the world. Everywhere they go, they're saving barrels of oil and helping build a cleaner, greener city.
26 April 2018

Bloomberg says that for every 1,000 battery-powered buses on the road, about 500 barrels a day of diesel fuel will be displaced. Source: Shutterstock

Can you imagine what would happen if all the busses in the world stopped using fuel and ran on batteries instead?

Well, it’s happening. The world is moving to electric powered vehicles and the oil industry is beginning to suffer (only in terms of profits and volumes).

Since busses consume 30 times more fuel than your average sedan, their impact on the world’s energy use so far is much greater than Tesla and Toyota Prius drivers contribute to. In fact, it’s starting to make an observable reduction in fuel demand.

And although China is leading the way, there’s no doubt that investing in electric buses will be important for municipal corporations battling pollution in their cities.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China had about 99 percent of the 385,000 electric buses on the roads worldwide in 2017, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s entire fleet. Every five weeks, Chinese cities add 9,500 of the zero-emissions transporters—the equivalent of London’s entire working fleet.

In fact, according to the company’s calculation, for every 1,000 battery-powered buses on the road, about 500 barrels a day of diesel fuel will be displaced from the market.

This year, the volume of fuel not needed may rise 37 percent to 279,000 barrels a day because of electric transport including cars and light trucks. That volume is equal to the total oil that Greece consumes. Of the 279,000 barrels, buses account for about 233,000 barrels.

Seven years ago, and now

Isbrand Ho, BYD’s Managing Director in Europe told Bloomberg: Electric buses were seen as a joke at an industry conference in Belgium seven years ago when BYD Co., a Shenzhen based company, showcased an early model. “Everyone was laughing at BYD for making a toy,” recalled Ho. “And now look, everyone has one.”

Cities outside China are taking notice. According to Reuters, cities such as Paris, Los Angeles, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, and Auckland have agreed to procure only zero-emissions buses from 2025 and ensure that major areas of their city are zero emissions by 2030.

London is also slowly transforming its fleet. Bloomberg reports suggest that currently, four routes in the city center serviced by single-decker units are being shifted to electricity.

There are plans to make significant investments to clean the city’s public transport networks. Officials also plan to retrofit 5,000 old diesel buses in a program to ensure all buses are emission-free by 2037.

In fact, in the last twelve months, cities around the world have been looking for ways replace diesel-guzzling monsters plaguing their roads with exciting, efficient electric buses.

In January, for example, Bloomberg reported that the Mayors of some of California’s largest cities are urging the state’s influential environmental regulator to give the battery-powered bus market a boost.

Last year, Los Angeles spent US$138 million to procure 95 electric buses. And New York is deploying 10 new electric buses for a three-year test drive on city streets, according to the NY Daily News.

If municipal authorities and governments keep up efforts to put more electric vehicles on the road, the world is definitely going to be cleaner and greener by 2030 – and although oil companies will feel the pinch, it’s time for them to look for alternative energy sources to feed their top-line anyway.