Developing US shale resources more important than electric vehicles

James T. Conway and Michelle J. Howard:
Comment: EV leadership key to countering Saudi oil weapon
This piece attempts to make the case for electric vehicles.  I think it falls short in several respects.  OPEC and the Saudis have significantly less impact on oil prices than they did before they attempting the kill the shale revolution with predatory pricing.  That moved backfired spectacularly.  The shale oil producers got more efficient and eventually cut their production costs below that of OPEC countries in many cases.

The US is now the biggest oil producer in the world and that will grow even more when infrastructure projects to get that oil the markets and ports are in place in the coming year.  The main reason the US is still importing some oil is that refineries were developed to handle the heavy crude coming from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.  The oil from the shale wells is light crude.  If refineries were switched over to handle that oil, the US would be energy sufficient in a matter of months.

One of the reasons that refineries have not made that switchover is because they are having to waste millions in purchasing ethanol or mandates.  One of the primary selling points for the mandate was to lessen US dependence on imported oil, but now the mandate is having the opposite effect but it is too ingrained in Washington right now to make the needed changes.  Ethanol has also been a disaster for those using small engines such as chainsaws and outboard motors.  Eliminating ethanol requirements would beneit people who use that type of equipment.

Electric vehicles are a long way from being as handy as cars with internal combustion engines.  Until you can recharge an EV in five minutes and travel over 300 miles on that charge, those vehicles are at best short range commuter cars.  The electricity to operate these vehicles is also more than likely being produced by fossil fuels.  Alternative energy suppliers are too inefficient to completely replace fossil fuel generators.  Alternative energy can not scale up or down to meet demand and it is more vulnerable to extreme weather events when mobility may be more important.


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