A new thought piece by Forbe's Senior Contributor Robert Rapier took a hypothetical look at whether all U.S. gasoline demand could be displaced if all available wind and solar power generation went into powering electric fleet vehicles. 

A vehicle fleet includes any vehicles used for work purposes, including cars, SUVs and utility vehicles, motorbikes, heavy vehicles (trucks, buses, coaches), specialist vehicles (forklift trucks, graders, loaders, tracked vehicles, etc), farm vehicles (all-terrain vehicles, tractors, combine harvesters, etc), trailers, towable plants such as generators and woodchippers, aircraft and boats.

It's an interesting thought that becomes more feasible if one is considering the sheer growth in solar production worldwide, the advancements in technology — such as bi-facial panels — and the drop in costs associated with installing solar.

So what was his verdict?

According to Rapier, U.S. produced 0.108 trillion kWh of electricity via solar power in 2019 — and 0.303 trillion kWh from wind. Those sources represented 2.5% and 6.9% of all U.S. electricity generation.

Together, the 0.411 trillion kWh of electricity from wind and solar represent 22.8% of the 1.8 trillion kWh required. If nuclear power and hydropower were included, 2019 generations from these non-fossil fuel sources would have equaled 85% of the necessary amount.

He expands that with another example: it requires 4.4 times more electricity than that produced from wind and solar in 2019 to equal the 1.8 trillion kWh needed to replace gasoline. 

"That may seem like a lot, but over the past decade, wind and solar power generation have increased by a factor of 5.4," Rapier writes. "At the growth rate of the past decade, it is possible that in another decade we could produce enough wind and solar power to power all the nation's automobiles with a 100% EV fleet.

"My verdict? It's not out of the realm of possibility that at least the energy requirement could be met by wind and solar power within a decade."

Read Rapier's full article via Forbes.