April 29 (UPI) -- The number of electric vehicles worldwide is expected to increase to 145 million by 2030, by which time they will account for 7% of all cars, vans, trucks and buses on the road, according to a report Thursday by the International Energy Agency.
The agency's Global EV Outlook 2021 estimates the number of electric vehicles across the globe by the end of the decade could eliminate the need for more than 2 million barrels a day of gasoline and diesel fossil fuels.
There were 10 million electric cars on roads worldwide at the end of 2020, it notes, with electric car registrations increasing by 41% last year. The assessment, the IEA's first on electric vehicles, said there are presently about 1 million electric vans, heavy trucks and buses.
The report says a record total of 3 million new electric cars were registered last year, despite the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Global auto sales declined by 16% in 2020, but electric vehicle sales in the first quarter of this year were more than 2.5 times higher over the first three months of last year.
"While they can't do the job alone, electric vehicles have an indispensable role to play in reaching net-zero emissions worldwide,'' IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement. "Current sales trends are very encouraging, but our shared climate and energy goals call for even faster market uptake."
Tesla sold the most electric vehicles in 2020, about 500,000, and Volkswagen ranked second. For the first time since 2015, new sales pushed Europe past China as the world's top EV market, according to data published by EV-volumes.com.
Nearly 1.4 million electric vehicles were registered in Europe during 2020, 137% more than in 2019, the IEA report found, and the number of EVs worldwide by 2030 could rise even higher -- to 230 million, due partly to measures adopted by governments worldwide encouraging production.
In the United States, the Biden administration announced last week progress on its goals to deploy electric vehicle charging stations and "alternative fuel corridors."
The Transportation Department also has announced a fifth round of highway segments designated as alternative fuel corridors, which include infrastructure allowing travel on alternative fuels including electricity.
The cumulative designations of all five rounds include 134 interstates and 125 U.S. highways and state roads spanning more than 166,000 miles across the country.