'Petrol prices could go to just Rs. 30/liter in future'
A tad bit of a far stretch, but when one listens to the argument presented by RethinkX co-founder and Stanford University economist and Professor Tony Seba, it does make some sense.
Here's all about it.
Technology is the mantra
Seba believes that rise of autonomous cars will lead to fall of petrol's demand; it doesn't imply that people will stop driving, but self-driving electric vehicles will push us towards becoming a shared economy and as electric vehicles will be cheaper in long run, fossil fuel driven vehicles will fall out of practice.
And with demand eliminated, oil prices are bound to plummet.
Entire economy will see a paradigm shift
Oil demand will reach a zenith and then it'll plummet, as Tony Seba said, "Oil demand will peak 2021-2020 and will go down 100 million barrels, to 70 million barrels within 10 years."
In the end, "if you produce oil and you can't compete at $25, essentially you are holding stranded assets" and "that is going to reshape worldwide oil, geopolitics and so on."
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The future belongs to autonomous vehicles
Seba believes, "The day that autonomous vehicles are approved, the combination of ride-hailing, electric and autonomous means that it's going to be ten times cheaper, up to ten times cheaper, to use a robot taxi, transport as a service car than it is to own a car. Ten times."
The entire ecosystem of the auto-industry would change, which would change the economy in turn.
Change is inevitable but maybe not that soon
The scenario presented by Tony Seba makes sense but it is riding on "ifs" and "buts."
What Seba says is possible and maybe someday we will reach that point where, as Seba puts it, restaurant chains will give us free complimentary ride with a cup of coffee.
There still remains a lot of hiccups on the way before such a scenario can be reached.
For now, let's wait and watch
The world is not going to simultaneously adapt to technology at a fixed pace, therefore, what may be achieved in some parts will be a distant dream for the others.
With the advent of technology, costs will come down and the economic scenario will improve, that is agreed but will it be within the upcoming ten years?
It's too early to take a call.