Alternative fuels are the key to emissions-free transport, with electric mobility being the most advanced. In Norway, 46% of all new cars sold in 2018 were electric. World wide, 5.1 million electric cars were sold in 2018, up from 3.1 million in 2017. Still, they only make up about 0.5% of the global vehicle stock. Future uptake depends fundamentally on progress with battery technology to increase range, availability of charging infrastructure to reassure users, and ultimately, price. The extent to which governments invest, and the range of incentives they put in place, will matter.
It is unlikely that one single new energy source can replace oil for energy intensity. Government policy should act according to different technologies and uses. Development of electric mobility should be boosted to decarbonise urban traffic, for instance, which would slash emissions and improve air quality. Also, if flights under 1 000 kilometres could use electric aircraft, this could save 15% of jet fuel. Hydrogen has advantages for longer ranges and where fast refueling is necessary, for trucks or maritime transport for instance. Ships are also rediscovering wind power. The use of biofuels and synthetic fuels should be stepped up as they allow conventional engines to run virtually carbon-free, if sustainably produced. To boost this sector, Sweden now requires conventional fuels to be blended with biofuels to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of diesel by 21% and of petrol by 4.2% by 2020.