Here's an encouraging story from Cleantechnica: Apparently University of California Irvine has just committed to purchasing 20 fully-electric buses for its student transportation. That's a pretty big deal for one single institution, and it marks yet one more locale where gasoline and/or diesel consumption isn't just incrementally reduced, but radically slashed. (It's also worth noting that this move was directly approved by students themselves, despite an initial modest increase in costs.)
With every announcement like this, I suspect we are getting closer to an important tipping point. You see, many people assume that it will take decades to fully realize a shift from oil-based fuels to electrification. But I am increasingly convinced that they are wrong. Because electric (and soon-to-be autonomous) vehicles are not simply a drop-in replacement, but a different—and I would say superior—alternative, I fully believe we'll hit a tipping point where a more rapid shift takes place.
Remember: It only takes a relatively small displacement of oil demand to play havoc with the economics of the hydrocarbon economy, and once we see investment and infrastructure shift to favor battery-powered vehicles, it will be very hard indeed for oil to make a comeback.
That was the basic thesis behind disruption expert Tony Seba's prediction that all vehicles will be electric by 2030, and a majority of auto execs would seem to agree with a huge shift in this direction.
In other news coming out of California, three major utilities just submitted a $1bn plan to promote electric vehicle infrastructure and use. I wouldn't want to own a chain of gas stations in California right now...