Peak oil to happen by 2015 - Toyota executive

25 June 2009 20:12  [Source: ICIS news]

ANTWERP (ICIS news)--World oil output could peak and begin a permanent decline as early as 2012-2015, a senior Toyota official said on Thursday.

The possibility that “peak oil” is now imminent will spur the development of hybrid and electric vehicles, improved fuel efficiency, and the search for alternative fuels, Willy Tomboy, director of Toyota Motor Europe's Environmental Affairs Group said at the Tankbank Oil and Logistics conference.

“There is a lot of debate about that, but there are a lot of scientific publications that show that this is a possibility,” Tomboy told ICIS news.

“Of course fossil fuels will continue to be a source for many years to come for the car industry. Gasoline and diesel will be part of a portfolio of energy providers,” Tomboy added.

Hybrid vehicles, which use a battery-powered electric motor as well as an internal combustion engine, currently account for 5.3% of Toyota's European sales. But Toyota expects hybrids to dominate the car market by 2030, Tomboy said.

Toyota also expects to see a large increase in alternative liquid fuels in future, as “second generation” biofuels are developed which do not use food sources for fuel. Biofuels could account for 26% of liquid fuel supplies by 2050, a 20-fold increase from 2007, according to data from the International Energy Agency that Toyota uses in its projections.

Changes in engine technology and environmentally-driven initiatives such as the search for lighter plastics and the development of water-based paints will have a large impact on the chemicals, logistics and storage industries, Tomboy said.

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By: Matthew Bristow
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