At least, it could if electric-car adoption plays out the way some experts think it will.
The prognostication comes courtesy of the energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, which has taken a fresh look at the shifting thirst for oil around the globe. Its analysts argue that “technological advances, both in fuel efficiency and the move to hybrid and electric vehicles, look set to disrupt demand” for gas, which they see tailing off from 2030. That’s earlier than some previous predictions, which expected peak demand to occur closer to 2040.
Until recently, Wood Mackenzie’s suggestion would have seemed laughable. There is, however, a growing sense that the next 20 years will see a huge shift toward electrification in cars: the U.K. and France have both decided to outlaw the sale of new internal-combustion cars by 2040, China (the word's largest car market) has implemented its own impressively aggressive anti-internal-combustion rules, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggests that electric vehicles could account for as many as half of all new cars sold by 2040.
In other words, the 2030 prediction is a bold one, but that could actually prove to be around the time we tip toward needing less, rather than more, gas to move us all around. Put another way: it's not as implausible as it may first sound.