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US predicts electric vehicles won't make a dent by 2040

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Chargepoint EV charging station stock 1024 4
Chargepoint EV charging station stock 1024 4

If you're looking forward to the day when electric cars rule the roads, you probably won't like what the US Department of Energy has to say. The organization's Energy Information Administration (EIA) is forecasting that the vast majority of cars will still use gasoline in the year 2040. According to the group's 2014 Annual Energy Outlook, a staggering 78 percent of light duty vehicles will still be sold with gasoline engines in that year, compared to just one percent plug-in hybrids, one percent full electric vehicles, and just five percent standard hybrid engines like the one popularized by the Toyota Prius.

Start-stop could be big

The reason appears to be that manufacturers would rather build advanced gasoline engines than drastically change their vehicle lineups, and the EIA predicts that tech which empowers more efficient gasoline engines will be a big deal. So-called "micro hybrids" with stop-start technology and regenerative braking will feature in an estimated 42 percent of gasoline-powered vehicles in the year 2040, according to the EIA's predictions. Ethanol may also feature in the market, however, in 11 percent of new light-duty vehicle engines.

On the plus side, it sounds like the United States may not have to worry about depending on more foreign oil to produce all that gasoline. Domestic oil production is forecasted to rise significantly until 2019, and the fuel efficiency of these vehicles is projected to rise to an average of 37.2 miles per gallon in 2040, compared to just 21.5 mpg last year.