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Until the pandemic none of the major oil forecasters had seen an imminent demand peak.

The gap between each forecast comes down to differing assumptions about government policies, economic conditions and consumer preferences for things such as new electric cars and solar panels.

Most analysts had only predicted declining demand for oil in improbably green scenarios that could only be achieved with far stronger global climate policies.

What made BP’s 2020 forecast unique is that peak oil now snuck into its business-as-usual baseline.

Without those changes, BP’s scenario suggested oil demand might plateau for the next decade before declining once and for all.

Like any forecast, only time will tell if peak oil demand happened already or won’t come until 2040.

The list of energy analysts who now foresee a peak in oil demand keeps growing.

The exporting nations of OPEC put the peak in 2040 while acknowledging that its new forecast might still prove too optimistic for oil.

About two thirds of Covid’s impact on oil demand will be from setbacks to the global economy, according to BP’s estimates, and one third will be from permanent changes in behavior.

The gap between BP’s predictions for declining demand and the more bullish forecasts of OPEC and IEA can’t be explained by economic outlooks or remote work.

Forecasts for electric vehicles end up shaping the outlook for oil. It also means batteries will have to prove themselves in challenging new markets.

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