Saturday, September 30, 2023


Will Chinese electric cars force U.S. RVers’ fuel prices down?

The cost of gasoline or diesel ranks high on the expense list of RVers. The impact can range from pain-in-the-wallet all the way to a canceled RV trip. But news out of China may point to potentially less-costly trips to the fuel pumps. It comes from an unusual situation. Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) could actually push fuel prices down.

Chinese oil giant feeling the pain

fuel prices downNo, we’re not talking about a huge influx of Chinese EVs into the U.S. Right now, China’s EV manufacturers are having a field day selling their units right in their home country. What’s happened is that so many Chinese citizens are abandoning “gasser-mobiles” for EVs that China’s Sinopec oil company is feeling the pain. Sinopec processes and sells the greatest amount of refined oil products in all of Asia. That’s saying a lot: China has become the largest market for refined oil for more than two decades. For Sinopec, that’s money in the bank.

But of all the cars sold in China, EVs (including gas-hybrid units) are now marking nearly 38% of the market—that’s up from 30% last year, and close to 16% in 2021. In 2022, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden were world leaders in terms of the percentage of EVs sold compared to fossil-fuel rigs; but China now sells ten times as many as all three of those other countries combined.

The bottom-line result: Sinopac, Asia’s top refined oil seller, says the demand for its products has dropped. Earlier, oil market thinkers predicted that China’s peak demand for oil would come in 2025. But the seemingly insatiable demand for EVs makes it appear that China’s peak demand will come much sooner—say, next year. What does that mean for the rest of the world that runs on oil? Could it drive fuel prices down?

Supply and demand the driver for drivers

A future scenario? [not real]
The International Energy Agency, a multi-government watchdog, says that China drinks up more than 70% of the world’s oil. While auto fuel is only a part of the total demand, it’s still a big chunk. Could Chinese EVs chilling off of the oil market result in lower fuel prices elsewhere in the world? Oil prices are decidedly driven by supply and demand. While Russia and other OPEC oil producers recently announced they’ll continue to valve-down the supply of oil they sell through this year, the situation in China could make these market manipulations far trickier.

While the International Energy Agency says other uses for oil, aside from vehicles, should keep the global peak demand for oil pushed off to, say, 2028, as other countries adopt EVs that peak could come a whole lot sooner. The result could drive fuel prices down. Less cost at the pump for consumers, including RVers.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.


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Jerry Glazman
21 days ago

I wouldn’t ever buy a Chinese electric car. They are bursting into flames over there in increasing numbers. Take the problems inherent in the instability of large lithium batteries and multiply that by shoddy manufacturing and you have the potential for a large scale disaster.

Jerry Glazman
21 days ago
Reply to  Jerry Glazman

An additional note. Once an EV catches fire it is almost impossible to extinguish. They just have to let it burn itself out while trying to protect nearby structures and vehicles. There is a YT video where the salvage company working on the Freemantle Highway is removing a Mercedes EV from the ship one week after the fire was “extinguished”. The car is still smoldering. They put the entire car into a large container of water and the smoke just continued to billow out.

Neal Davis
21 days ago

Well done! I worked for the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, in DC for decades. I would be quite willing, happy even, to have my name on this article. It’s well-done, but doesn’t lose the reader in the weeds. 🙂 Thank you!

Bob P
21 days ago

I can hardly wait until prices get back to where they were when I started driving…21.9 cents per gallon… 1959

21 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

Let’s not forget gas wars in the late 60s when where I lived it was down to 18¢. $1 of gas would last a teenager a week!!

Gary W.
20 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

.22 in 1959 is the equivalent of 2.32 now.

21 days ago

so happy I bought a Tesla. It is the best driving experience out of any car I’ve driven or been in in my life. Just incredible. The future is bright.

Charlie Sullivan
21 days ago
Reply to  Dave

You must not live in California. Our utility companies institute brown outs (planned power outages) during periods of high winds in certain areas. I would think it could be difficult for EV owners during those periods.

21 days ago

If you cannot walk there, you’re part of the problem. 1984 took longer to get here, but it’s coming sooner or later.

21 days ago
Reply to  Tom

EVs will drive the price of gas up. Here’s why. Big oil will sell less gas and raise the price to make up for lost profits, EVs in most states do not pay road use tax (yet) so the states will raise the road use tax on gas. If you heat your home with oil EVs will get that too.

23 days ago

At this very moment oil is at its highest price this year. +/- $87.50/bl. Gas and diesel are both up the past 3 weeks again but here comes China, the world’s largest polluter, to save the day. Someone much wiser than I once said, “If you don’t have a strategy, it just means your part of someone else’s”.

Many thanks to China and Europe for the Beta testing.


Dana D
21 days ago
Reply to  Cancelproof

Right on!

Didn’t the USA used to be energy independent, and prices were low? Don’t we now import oil from the Saudi’s and other countries, and prices are high? What changed? Ah, The White House?

Americans should wake up to China’s long-term strategy. Take a lesson from the Japanese. Sony, for example has had a 150-year Strategic Plan since the 1980’s when they turned their quality around. I may be dead before I’m speaking Chinese, but my grandkids won’t!

Yup, keep putting the {bleeped} in office!

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