Oil currently holds a monopoly on transportation fuels. Until recently biofuels were seen as the means to break this stranglehold. They will still have a part to play, but the lead role has been handed to natural gas, almost solely due to the increased availability of shale gas. The spread between oil and gas prices, unprecedented in its scale and duration, will cause a secular shift away from oil as a raw material. In the transport fuel sector, natural gas will gain traction first in the displacement of diesel fuel. Substantial innovation is occurring in the methods of producing liquid fuel from shale gas at the well site, in particular in the development of small scale distributed processes. In some cases, the financing of such small-scale plants may require new business models.
Strategies for displacing oil