Exploring global energy demand

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Any projection of global energy demand must deal with the various uncertainties that could have a critical impact on the path of demand growth in both the short- and the longterm. Most important among these variables are GDP growth, regulation, and technology breakthroughs.

This interactive graphic, based on research from the McKinsey Global Institute, calculates energy and oil demand in 2010, 2015, and 2020, using key variables, such as energy productivity and GDP growth. As the graphic illustrates, GDP is the most important factor affecting short-term demand for both oil and energy. In the longterm, higher fuel efficiency standards can slow the growth of oil demand. At the same time, capturing opportunities in energy productivity can dramatically reduce the growth of demand in energy. Electric vehicles—a key technological breakthrough—will not begin to seriously penetrate sales share until 2015 at the earliest, limiting their impact on the 2020 stock of more than 1 billion light vehicles globally.

The data in this exhibit are drawn from research by the McKinsey Global Institute. A more comprehensive report, Averting the next energy crisis: The demand challenge, is available for download.