🍾 Spirits Trump Beer. China Fuel Cells. Literacy Rates.

Chart of the Day #47 looks at Literacy Rates, Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles, and Alcohol Sales.

Kamusta 🌴

Apple ends Project Titan, its electric car venture intended to rival Tesla's autonomous electric vehicles, after spending billions on research. Researchers have succeeded in developing wafer-thin nanomembranes from synthetic diamonds that can be integrated into electronic components. This would reduce the local heat load by up to tenfold, enhance road performance and the lifespan of electric vehicles, and shorten battery charging duration.

Today's Topics

  • ✏️ Literacy. Literacy rates grow 70%+ since the 1800s
  • πŸ”‹ Fuel Cells. 92% of China's fuel-cell electric vehicles are trucks and buses
  • 🍾 Spirits. Spirits sales overtake beer for the first time

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✏️ Literacy rates grow 70%+ since the 1800s

In 2023, the global literacy rate reached approximately 87%, marking significant growth from the 19th century, when rates were below 20%. Throughout history, most lacked the chance to realize their potential, especially in impoverished pre-growth economies where even basic education was a privilege for a select few.

Despite an overall upward trend, the literacy rate experienced a dip in 1940 during World War II, which likely impacted education opportunities. However, the establishment of UNESCO in 1945 and its commitment to promoting free and compulsory education in the 1950s helped to spur a resurgence in literacy rates. Reduced gender disparity in education as gender roles shifted, improved access to educational resources facilitated by the rise of the internet, and reduced race gaps, which provided more opportunities for minority groups have collectively contributed to the upward trajectory of literacy rates.

πŸ”‹ 92% of China's Fuel-cell Electric Vehicles are Trucks and Buses

In the realm of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), South Korea takes the lead in sheer volume, with models like the Hyundai Nexo and the Toyota Mirai dominating the market. However, China stands out for having the most diverse FCEV fleet, with a significant focus on trucks and buses. China's experimentation with hydrogen technology is mostly concentrated in the commercial transportation sector, while the emphasis on electric vehicles leans towards passenger cars.

Globally, approximately 400,000 electric buses are in operation, and 99% of them are found in China. BNEF calculations indicate that 1,000 electric buses can displace around 500 barrels of diesel demand each day. In comparison, 1,000 electric cars displace only 15 barrels of oil demand a day. This striking difference results in China’s electric buses saving more diesel than all their electric cars combined.

🍾 Spirits Sales Overtake Beer for the First Time

In 2022, spirit sales overtook beer for the first time, garnering a market share of 42.1%. Despite a slow 0.2% growth in supplier sales in the U.S. in 2023, the spirits sector outpaced beer and wine sales by 0.4 and 26.1 percentage points, respectively. Vodka remained the top-selling spirit, and premixed cocktails witnessed the fastest growth, rising 26.7% to $2.8 billion.

A changing drinking culture drives this shift. The demand for artisanal products and the emergence of celebrity brands have fueled the premiumization of spirits. Additionally, the revival of cocktail culture, where consumers explore diverse flavors and create new drinks, is boosting the demand for various spirits. Some consumers may also view beer as less health-conscious due to its higher calorie content, potentially influencing their preference for spirits.


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