Norway powers ahead electrically with over half of new car sales now electric or hybrid

A Norwegian citizen disconnects his electric car from a free recharging station in Oslo. Pure electric cars and hybrids, which have both battery power and a diesel or petrol motor, accounted for 52 percent of all new car sales in Norway last year. (Reuters)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Norway powers ahead electrically with over half of new car sales now electric or hybrid

OSLO: Sales of electric and hybrid cars rose above half of new registrations in Norway in 2017, a record aided by generous subsidies that extended the country’s lead in shifting from fossil-fuel engines, data showed on Wednesday.
Pure electric cars and hybrids, which have both battery power and a diesel or petrol motor, accounted for 52 percent of all new car sales last year in Norway against 40 percent in 2016, the independent Norwegian Road Federation (OFV) said.
“No one else is close” in terms of a national share of electric cars, OFV chief Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen said. “For the first time we have a fossil-fuel market share below 50 percent.”
Norway exempts new electric cars from almost all taxes and grants perks that can be worth thousands of dollars a year in terms of free or subsidised parking, re-charging and use of toll roads, ferries and tunnels.
It also generates almost all its electricity from hydropower, so the shift helps to reduce air pollution and climate change.
Last year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Norway was far ahead of other nations such as the Netherlands, Sweden, China, France and Britain in electric car sales.
By the IEA yardstick, which excludes hybrid cars with only a small electric motor that cannot be plugged in, electric car sales in Norway rose to 39 percent in 2017 from 29 in 2016, when the Netherlands was in second on 6.4 percent.
Norwegian car sales in 2017 were topped by the Volkswagen Golf, BMWi3, Toyota Rav4 and Tesla Model X. The Tesla is pure electric and others have electric or hybrid versions.
In many countries, high prices of battery-driven cars, limited ranges between recharging and long charging times discourage buyers. Car makers say the disadvantages are dwindling over time with new models.
“We view Norway as a role model for how electric mobility can be promoted through smart incentives,” a spokesman at BMW’s Munich HQ said. “The situation would probably be different if these incentives were dropped.”
Other “good examples” of policies to spur electric-car demand include Britain, California and the Netherlands, he said.
Last year, Norway’s parliament set a non-binding goal that by 2025 all cars sold should be zero emissions. Among other nations, France and Britain plan to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Christina Bu, head of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association which represents owners, said the 2025 goal meant that Norway should stick with its incentives for electric cars.
“It’s an ambitious goal only seven years away,” she told Reuters. Overall, sales of zero emissions cars in Norway rose in 2017 to 21 percent from 16 in 2016.
Electric cars have widespread support among Norway’s 5.3 million people. A plan last year by the right-wing government to trim electric car incentives, dubbed a “Tesla Tax,” was dropped in negotiations on the 2018 budget.
Sales of diesel cars fell most in 2017, to 23 percent from 31 in 2016. Some regions in Norway have started to charge higher road tolls for diesel cars than for petrol-driven vehicles.
Norway’s electric car policies are hard to imitate. Norway can be generous because high revenues from oil and gas production have helped it amass the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, worth $1 trillion.
Illustrating the supportive benefits, a Volkswagen e-Golf electric car sells for 262,000 crowns ($32,300) in Norway, just fractionally above the import price of 260,000, according to the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association.
But a comparable gasoline-powered Golf, which costs just 180,000 crowns to import, ends up selling for 298,000 crowns after charges including value added tax, carbon tax, and another tax based on the weight of the vehicle.
Even in Norway, the benefits strain finances. Norway’s 1.3 trillion Norwegian crown budget projects a loss of tax revenues of 3 billion crowns a year because of electric cars.


Saudi Aramco has spare capacity to meet any supply disruption says CEO

Updated 25 June 2018
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Saudi Aramco has spare capacity to meet any supply disruption says CEO

  • Space capacity of 2 million barrels
  • Aramco chief in Delhi to sign ADNOC deal

Oil giant Saudi Aramco has spare capacity of 2 million barrels per day (bpd) and can meet additional oil demand in case of any interruption in supplies, the company head said on Monday, days after OPEC agreed a modest increase in oil output from July.

Aramco, the world’s third-largest crude oil producer, is producing about 10 million bpd and has the capacity to produce 12 million bpd, Amin Nasser, the company’s chief executive, said on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi.

OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia agreed over the last few days on a modest increase in oil production from July, following calls from major consumers to curb rising fuel costs.

“We have a healthy spare capacity ... that will be availed to meet additional demand and any interruptions in supply if it happens,” Nasser said.

Nasser expects OPEC’s decision to be implemented “very soon,” although he did not comment on Aramco’s likely output for the July-August period.

“Whatever is concluded as part of this agreement, we will fulfil,” he said.

OPEC and it’s non-OPEC allies met last week to review a pact to cut their combined output by 1.8 million bpd that was put into place at the beginning of 2017.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said at the weekend OPEC and non-OPEC combined would pump roughly an extra 1 million bpd in coming months, equal to 1 percent of global supply.

Global consumers have grown increasingly worried over the past few months about oil supplies, with the United States vowing to renew sanctions against Iran, and Venezuela seeing a big drop in its output due to US sanctions and an economic crisis.

Nasser was in Delhi to sign a deal allowing the UAE’s’ Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to acquire a stake in a planned $44 billion refinery and petrochemical project on India’s west coast.

Nasser said the company’s is “almost there” in finalizing the stake to be given to ADNOC.

Saudi Aramco is looking at “all options” to enter fuel retailing in India through partnerships with Indian oil companies and ADNOC, Nasser said.
Aramco wants to be present in the entire value chain of India’s energy sector, he said.

India has seen mass local protests against the proposal to set up the refinery in the Ratnagiri region of the western state of Maharashtra, but Nasser said he expects India to resolve the land acquisition issues.

“We are assured by our Indian partners ... that this is being worked out,” he said.

India is emerging as a key demand center for refined fuels. To meet its growing demand, the South Asian nation aims to raise its refining capacity by 77 percent to 8.8 million bpd by 2030.

Nasser also said the oil markets are healthy and demand forecasts look healthy for 2019.

Reacting to media reports that China’s Sinopec has reduced oil purchases from the Kingdom, Nasser said: “Sinopec is our major customer, sometimes they buy less, sometimes they request for more. We have some Chinese refiners approaching us directly for oil purchases, and that’s kept our sales to China at a healthy level.”