Cheap Gas Won’t Be Able to Kill the Electric Car
The overall sales of electric cars in the United States dramatically increased from 2010 to 2014. From virtually nothing, it is now selling over 120,000 units per year. Even then, non-believers continue to resist.
At the moment, there are investment forums and industry analysts predicting a coming sluggishness in EV sales. They say that the collapse in the price of oil in the past seven months from $115 a barrel to $50 could trigger the stagnation.
As a result, gasoline prices have gone down as well. It dropped to about $2 per gallon across the country. Naturally, car owners as well as commuters are rejoicing. It appears now that the key selling point for electric vehicles which is high fuel costs is now gone. This situation does not bode well for the electric car.
But surprisingly, the real situation is not that bad for the electric car. At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this past week, the floor was stacked with flashy and stylish electric cars, from the Chevrolet Bolt to the BMW i3 to the micro-cars and SUVs.
The reason is that the present boom in electric cars is not really about cheap gas but about clean air. A group of environmentally progressive states with California as the leader has developed market-based mandates that set a floor under the electric-vehicle market.
This group includes the states of Connecticut, Oregon, Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland and Vermont.
In other words, these states are requiring gas car makers to sell electric cars. The goal is to have 3.3 million electric vehicles on their roads by 2025. It now appears that the survival of electric cars does not depend on cheap gas and the whims and machinations of the global oil market.
Throughout history, electric cars have lost the battle to oil. In the early 1890s, electric taxi fleets were capturing the market from horse-and-buggy drivers in New York, Atlantic City and Philadelphia.
Thomas Edison also tried to develop a battery technology specifically for electric cars. He spent around $1 million of his own money and worked over one decade in this endeavour.
But when oil was discovered and its subsequent use in the then newly developed gas car, the electric car died a natural death. It is only now that electric vehicles are making a vigorous comeback, thanks to the way oil has almost completely polluted the planet.
With oil prices spiking up in the late 60s up to the late 70s, and with no let-up in the last two decades, electric vehicles seems one of the ways the world can ditch its dependency on dirty oil.
At present, the United States is the biggest market for electric vehicles. Around 90 per cent of EVs are sold in the group of states that is led by California. This effort is just what the world needs to get away from fossil fuel dependency.
The falling of oil prices may affect the sales of electric cars for some limited time. But because of their benefits and advantages, EVs will give gas cars a good fight.