With news that France has taken a range of measures aimed at reducing the amount of petrol guzzling cars on its roads by 2050, auto manufacturers are hoping to progress with a market that is increasingly looking to greener alternatives. Additional announcements that major European hubs were considering closing off entire roads and restricting the volume of trucks on its major arteries has signalled that governments are also following in the way of the consumer.
However, the car industry isn’t necessarily on the way out.
The noticeable shift in consumer trends has been visible for over a decade, as companies began adapting to the call for hybrid vehicles and research and development efforts towards electric and biogas-run vehicles. Companies like Tesla have been ahead of the curve, with sales of their electric cars steadily rising over the past five years despite the company failing to post profits during that time. Whilst that may seem like a large red flag, the market will eventually catch up and Elon Musk’s calculated gamble could end up reaping a huge payoff.
Major brands have since adapted their strategies.
French giant Renault has pioneered low-cost electricity vehicles meant for goods transport and are now exporting them overseas, whilst many of its public transport options all revolve around renewable or green energy. Swedish heavyweight Volvo announced that all of its cars will be hybrid or electric from 2019, whilst other manufacturers have ramped up their efforts to produce clean vehicles.
That being said, the oil industry has also noticed this trend, and has been working towards cashing in on it as well.
Major oil-producing nations have spent vast amounts of money to try and future proof their economies and put forward a positive image as they realise the age of oil is beginning to end. Places like Dubai are creating sustainable hubs and looking into renewable energies as a way to consolidate their portfolio – which currently rests primarily on their oil stocks.
Big Oil is also continuing to exert pressure on countries unable to transition towards renewables.
Countries like Australia, Brazil, Venezuela and the United States continue to be lobbied hard and comply with major donators from those fields in order to push a pro-fossil fuel agenda. Pressured by new-age consumerism that has started putting a value on the environment has made many oil moguls worried for the future of their companies as they are unable to put the interests of the planet ahead of their own profit margins.