The founder of electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla Inc., Elon Musk, has said that he accepts that the world will need to continue using oil and gas for the time being.
Speaking to reporters at a conference in Norway, he said:
“Realistically I think we need to use oil and gas in the short-term, because otherwise civilization will crumble. One of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to sustainable energy and to a sustainable economy. That will take some decades to complete.”
When asked about whether Norway should look to drill new oil and gas wells, Musk said that some extra exploration was justifiable at present. He pointed out, however, that a sustainable but strong source of winter power could be found in North Sea windfarms in combination with battery storage. Musk’s views echo those of traditional oil and lubricant companies like Shell and BP, who have pointed out that oil and gas will continue to be needed in the medium-term as a more sustainable energy network is built.
Nevertheless, EVs from companies like Tesla are gradually reducing the demand for oil. Last year, for example, EVs avoided being a part of the 1.5 million barrels of oil used each day, according to a BloombergNEF study. While this is only about 1.5% of current global oil production, the number of EVs is expected to quadruple to almost 80 million in just the next four years alone, indicating the significant role that EVs will play in fighting climate change.