Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Almost a Bevy of BEVs

The Detroit Auto Show opened yesterday amid a flurry of stories about electric vehicles. The LA Times reported this morning on Ford's confirmation of the electric Focus hitting the market early in 2011.

This is good news for consumers since we now have a viable American entry into the race for an affordable compact battery EV. Nissan's Leaf will beat it to the market, but not by much.

Ironically, the adjacent story in the LA Times business section was of the recent rise in gas prices in spite of higher reserves and lower demand. This should be a huge story, but will probably get little coverage.

If you read the story, you'll see that the money manipulators are reaping huge profits just by betting on the future prices of oil. They're stealing your money because you have no choice!

Our country desperately needs to raise taxes on oil-based fuels to cover the health, environmental and national security costs this dirty fuel inflicts on our society. Whenever the subject is raised, however, a cry erupts from all sectors saying there is no way we can raise taxes in this time of economic turmoil.

It'll kill jobs, they say. What about the poor, they say.

Well what about the jobs and the poor now that the oil companies are raising the price of our fuel? What are you going to do? Nothing?


We have no leadership when it comes to this problem. The politicians, even the "good ones", are deathly afraid to touch the third rail of gas taxes. It's up to us.

The one big thing you can do is buy a car that doesn't use oil as a fuel. NO PLUG - NO DEAL!

There is a great way to prepare for the coming plug-ins. From now on, when you buy gas for your car, double the price you pay. Take the second half and deposit it in a separate account that you don't touch for anything but your first EV. If you need service, like an oil change or tune up, double that as well and stash it away. This tough love saving exercise will highlight how expensive oil-burners are to operate while providing you with a fat accumulation of cash to add to your trade in on the new plug-in car.

Then, when the plug-in of your choice hits the market, you'll be ready to kiss those gas pumps goodbye!



  1. Ha! Love the idea about doubling gas prices and saving the balance in a "my first EV" account. :-)

    I was in Copenhagen in November, and gas prices were $7.75/gallon. Once 99% energy dependent on foreign oil, Denmark bore the brunt of the 1973 oil crisis and put itself on a trajectory toward complete energy independence, which it has now achieved.

    It's high time to get on a similar trajectory in the U.S.!

  2. This is a great, concise read, Paul. And it just makes me shake my head and think, here we go AGAIN.

  3. Regarding the "money manipulators" reaping rewards from raising the price of oil... first a lesson in market economics. I think we will agree that world oil demand is set to rise as the BRIC countries increase demand for automobiles. China is already #1 for auto sales and still rising. India is just starting to ramp up. The commodities markets price future trends in. In this case that raises the price of oil - making its cost match its anticipated scarcity for future demand. Otherwise demand would rise out of control and cause an even greater shock down the road. Markets are self balancing - even if we do not like the short term effects.
    Assuming we can make significant inroads to changeover from ICE to EV, and it is deep enough to impact oil demand, we should see the market prices drop for oil even ahead of the transition. Ironically this will stimulate demand for ICEs - but again only up to a point of stability.

  4. Barry, I disagree with you completely. You argue that it is a good thing to let the price of oil rise above a true current supply and demand clearing price to better signal the future supply and demand clearing price. Better for who? The speculators aka money manipulators that is who. The price of gold is driven by speculation even though there are true providers and users of the stuff in the market. The only thing good about oil being driven to artificailly high levels by speculators is that its cost to its suppliers does not include the many negative externalities that attach to its use. I'd rather are debt burden government captured those cost with greater taxation as Paul advocates.

  5. Why would you go along with the Green Auto blog putting down private companies working on electrifying the transportation sector. Who is working harder at doing it than them? With recent success I might add. It is they who will very likely be first to market and make it real.

  6. how a post profit surcharge on Oil companies to pay for Health care and a import duty on foriegn oil

  7. Great post. I think the plug-in community should do more to raise awareness of the need for a carbon tax (which produces the similar results to increasing the gas tax, but is more politically possible). We also need to band together against efforts to charge taxes per mile rather than per gallon - why should my EV pay the same as a bloated SUV for use of the roads, when the SUV does a lot more damage? I see this as a way of undermining the benefits EVs have over gas burners.

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