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Think electric as gas costs soar

Think electric as gas costs soar

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By Mike Wilcox

Publisher

Quietly, unbeknownst to many of us, the price of gasoline has crept ever higher. I was aghast to pay $3 or more per gallon in Michigan a few weeks ago. I can only imagine how high it will go if Gov. Whitmer shoves her 45-cent increase through the legislature.

In Alabama, where I commute 35 miles one way each day, it is 60 cents less but still much higher than a year ago. Fortunately I have enjoyed that commute in an electric car for two years. I pay for no gas or car maintenance because it has no engine, only a battery. I pity those who make a similar commute in a gas-powered car.

I’ve been a keen observer of the price of a barrel of oil for a long time, keeping my eye on OPEC and the Middle East energy situation. I hailed the U.S. pronouncement last year that we were no longer energy dependent. The fact we export more oil and gas than we import is a monumental achievement.

So why the $3 a gallon gas prices if we have enough oil off our own shores to service America? Many experts claim it is because we get paid more for exporting oil to others versus using it in our own country. Thus we are still buying several million barrels of oil a year from the Middle East.

That could soon be a problem. I was surprised reading in Newsweek that Iran allegedly ambushed two Saudi Arabian oil tankers last week, damaging them to where they couldn’t get home to pick up their loads of oil, some bound for the U.S.

This act of aggression by Iran might foretell a possible conflict between Iran, the Saudis and U.S. in the Persian Gulf, through which much of the world’s oil passes. Our heightened restrictions on Iran have made the rogue country cranky and possibly itching for a fight. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an escalation of oil tanker sabotage and hijackings in the Gulf as summer gets underway.

If that happens, the price of gasoline may escalate to numbers unknown to us. It will probably increase greatly the sale of electric cars as well. Selfishly. I’m not sure I like that. Now, driving one of only a few electrics, I can pull in to a station and get charged immediately. Yes, I have to wait 30 to 45 minutes for my vehicle to charge, but I’ve never known there to be a lineup of cars waiting to do so.

Electric vehicles are our future. Every major car manufacturer is gearing up to make them, and as an owner I can say there are very few disadvantages. Let me click off some:

No oil changes. No tune-ups, No engine service whatsoever. My vehicle that travels some 1,000 miles a month costs me less than $25 a month to charge at home.

The acceleration on electrics is incredible. My wife calls the car a rocket ship. Don’t forget the advantages to the environment (no emissions).

It will be nice to thumb our nose at the Middle East fiefdoms that have ransomed their oil for so many years. It is wonderful news that we now produce more oil than we import.

But it is even greater news to expect more electric vehicles on the road in years to come.