Green Fail: Feds Say Just One Car Out of 100 Will Be Electric in 2040


Electric vehicles are gaining a small foothold in the U.S., but according to the feds, it will remain just that — small. Fossil fuels will power the vast majority of vehicles for the next two and a half decades, with electric cars accounting for a scant 1 percent of vehicles sold in the United States in 2040, according to Uncle Sam.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration Annual Energy Outlook report for 2014 predicts that by 2040, nearly eight in 10 cars sold will run on gasoline, down marginally the number sold last year. The number of diesels rolling out of showrooms will double to 4 percent of all vehicles sold, while hybrids will comprise 5 percent of cars. That’s up from 3 percent last year.

But the headline figure is this: The EIA predicts that only 1 percent of total vehicle sales in the U.S. will be plug-in hybrids, with another 1 percent being fully electric in 2040.

“The numbers of light duty vehicles powered by fuels other than gasoline, such as diesel, electricity, or E85, or equipped with hybrid drive trains, such as plug-in hybrid or gasoline hybrid electric, increase modestly from 18 percent of new sales in 2012 to 22 percent in 2040,” the report states.

Last year, around 14.5 million vehicles were sold nationwide. If the EIA’s numbers pan out (and overall vehicle sales stay about the same), fewer than 300,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids will be sold in 2040. That’s bad news for the Obama administration, which has long hoped to see 1 million EVs and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015.