These issues are, by their very nature, global in scope. So, lets begin with an assessment of the global auto industry. Despite the current challenges of the auto industry in the United States ¦ globally, our industry is in the midst of tremendous growth. There are about 820 million vehicles in the world today; roughly 12 percent of the worlds population enjoys the benefits of automobile ownership and driving. Automobile ownership and use is a rough indicator of what some call middle class economic status.
With rapid growth in many regions of the world, there are more people achieving this status than at any time in history, and the personal freedom that autos provide is highly valued. As such, we expect that at least 15 percent of the worlds population will own a vehicle by 2020 thats a billion vehicles. This expansion is being fueled by growth in emerging markets like China and India. As youve already discussed, this growth has created serious concerns about the automobiles almost exclusive dependence on petroleum.
This increasingly creates issues with supply and availability, sustainable growth, climate change, and even national security. As we look at this picture today and consider the future of the automobile, one fact stands out above all others¦ going forward, we can no longer rely primarily on oil to supply the worlds automotive energy requirements. GM believes that the long-term solution involves a march toward the electrification of the automobile. The debate has shifted from if this would happen to when.
We believe there are a number of steps along the way, and Id like to share some of our thoughts with you. Around the globe, there are many very promising solutions to the energy and environmental challenges we face. General Motors is working hard on most of them¦ things like improved diesel technology, advanced biofuels, and broad-scale application of hybrid technology. Parallel hybrid automotive powertrains are an important step on the journey. They are a natural extension of our current mechanical-electrical propulsion paradigm.
They are, in fact, limited range electrical powertrains that replaces or help a conventional internal combustion engine at certain parts of the driving cycle. They contribute most fuel savings during low speed city driving conditions. GM has five hybrid vehicles on the road today, and will offer eight hybrid models by the end of this year. And by 2012, we will have more than 20 hybrid vehicles available for consumers, in cars, crossovers, pickup trucks and SUVs Last but not least, they allow us to develop marketing, sales and service capabilities to assure adequate levels of customer satisfaction.
Most importantly, we can recalibrate our engineering human resources from a world of mechanical motion to a world of electrical motion. Think of the tens of thousands of engineering and technical people at GM who grew up and learned their trade on the internal combustion engine. They are now enthused to participate in a once in a lifetime transition of our industry. Our hybrid efforts began in earnest when we started producing hybrid systems for electric buses. City transit buses were the exact right place to start.
Think about it from our perspective. City driving cycles. Thousands of stops and starts per day. High up time and reliability requirements. And the space to package first generation components. This was a great opportunity to demonstrate big fuel savings potential ¦ and that we did. Over the past five years, weve helped save three million gallons of fuel, and 30,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Weve applied the lessons learned from the two-mode hybrid system used in the transit buses, and scaled it down for use in full-size utilities and pickups.
In fact, weve already introduced the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid and the GMC Yukon Hybrid, and will soon launch a hybrid version of the Cadillac Escalade. Those are vehicles that get the city fuel economy of a four-cylinder Toyota Camry, but in a full-size SUV package. And, in the future, we intend to produce the Saturn VUE Plug-In Hybrid. It will feature an advanced lithium-ion battery, and potentially twice the fuel economy of any SUV on the road today. In fact, I am very pleased that the DOE just announced this compact SUV is being considered for a funding opportunity.
We truly appreciate it. But, again, I remind you these are fuel-powered vehicles that get a helping hand from an electric propulsion system. The technology that we are here to talk about today¦ and one that GM is working very hard to bring to market¦ is electrically driven vehicles. Despite movie titles to the contrary, I can say with absolute certainty the electric car is not dead at GM. In fact, we are building on our capabilities to significantly expand our commitment to electrically-driven vehicles ¦ and are now in the midst of a radical transformation.