Market Snapshot: Younger Generations Driving Less, Impacts Fuel Demand Forecasts

Release Date: 2015-05-12

A number of changing variables are behind estimates of future transportation fuel use including: fuel costs, increased fuel efficiency, alternative fuel technology, and most notably, changing driver demographics and behavior.

The figure below shows recent trends for travel demand and demographics in Canada. Since 2000, travel per licensed driver has increased for older age groups, and declined for younger age groups.

Figure Source and Description

Source: National Energy Board

Description: this graph shows vehicle kilometres travelled by age group for two cohorts: those under 45 and those over 45, from 2000 to 2009. The Under 45 cohort has exhibited a consistent decline of vehicle kilometres travelled – from 12,645 to 7,451 – over the decade. The over 45 cohort has exhibited a consistent incline of vehicle kilometres travelled – from 14,981 to 18,480 – over the same period. Both cohorts did exhibit a bit of a flattening of their trends between 2005 and 2008.


It has been suggested that younger drivers have less interest in owning and driving personal vehicles. Economic factors could be influencing this decision, such as the relative cost of buying, operating, and parking vehicles. If this trend of decreased driving by younger age groups continues, it could have large impact on future transportation fuel demand, even in a low price environment.

The recently released Energy Futures Supplement: Demand Sensitivities develops High and Low Vehicle Kilometre Travelled sensitivity cases and compares them to the EF 2013 Reference Case. The Reference Case shows the impact of these changing variables such as changing driver demographics and behavior, increased vehicle energy effciency, and alternative fuel technology on future fuel demand. As represented in the figure below, it is projected that passenger fuel consumption will ultimately decline in the long term.


Figure Source and Description

Source: National Energy Board

Description: this graph shows the Energy Futures Supplement: Demand Sensitivities Reference Case passenger vehicle energy use projections from 2012 to 2035. The curve is mostly declining, from 1194 PJ in 2012 to 930 PJ in 2035, but displays a slight uptick in energy use in 2013.

 

Date modified: