The District will put its first group of battery-powered buses into circulation next week, adding to a broad trend of zero-emission buses that could impact the oil industry.

Bloomberg News reported that the growth of electric buses, especially in China, could eliminate the need for 233,000 barrels of oil this year.

Because buses typically use up significantly more fuel than cars, the growth of electric buses is having a greater impact on fuel usage than the growth of Tesla and other green cars.

“This segment is approaching the tipping point,” said Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport at the London-based research unit of Bloomberg LP told the news service. “City governments all over the world are being taken to task over poor urban air quality. This pressure isn’t going away, and electric bus sales are positioned to benefit.”

The District’s new electric buses will comprise a very small fraction of the total buses on the road. There were 385,000 electric buses in operation in 2017, 99 percent of which were in China. Chinese bus fleets are now 17 percent electric, and there are 9,500 electric buses added to Chinese cities every five weeks.

BYD, which introduced electric buses to China in 2011, says it has saved 1.8 billion gallons of fuel.

In Washington, D.C., officials said the 14 buses will save 88,900 gallons of fuel annually.


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