Leading energy expert Daniel Yergin's so-called "Hydrocarbon Society" is slowly shifting away from gasoline as the presence of electric vehicles and fuel efficient cars on the road continues to rise.
Yergin writes in "The Prize," winner of the Pulitzer Prize, "A new era opened with the development of the internal combustion engine powered by gasoline. The oil industry had a new market, and a new civilization was born."
But, the advent of electric vehicles is changing that standard and a rift has emerged between groups predicting the slow demise of gasoline demand and those who still see a long, healthy run for the more than century old staple of global transportation.
"Oil demand from passenger cars declines even as the number of vehicles doubles in the next quarter century, thanks mainly to improvements in efficiency, but also biofuels and rising ownership of electric cars," the International Energy Agency (IEA) notes in its World Energy Outlook 2016.
While the first electric car -- a six-passenger car made by William Morrison -- made its successful debut around 1890 and was popular in the early 1900s, according to the Department of Energy, gasoline-powered vehicles quickly overtook the market. It was Henry Ford's mass-produced Model T that effectively crippled the electric car industry as the gasoline-powered cars were cheaper.
By the start of the 21st century, however, electric cars were making a comeback. Honda Motor (HMC) unveiled the Insight hybrid in 1999. Then, the Toyota (TM) Prius became the first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle and was released worldwide in 2000.