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Electric vehicles suddenly more attractive?


April 25, 2018   By Willard Strong in Energy Matters

With the recent hike is gasoline prices, the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt may become increasingly attractive to car buyers.

Noticed how gasoline prices have dramatically risen this year, around $2.55, $2.59 and even higher in some locations? 

The Lundberg Report, which has been tracking gas costs since the 1970s, stated over the weekend that gas prices increased 9 cents nationwide since last week. Late last December, for example, you could easily buy 87 octane regular for about $2.10—or less. It’s been an uphill climb since the big ball dropped in Times Square.

According to the April 23 edition of The Wall Street Journal, the cruel culprit is the price of crude oil, now approaching $70 a barrel, the highest since 2014. There’s not much relief on the horizon most experts say, as a brisk economy has stimulated demand both here and abroad.

Moreover, the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, and other world-stage players, cut back production to get prices up. Bottom line: The glut is gone and gas prices are unlikely to fall and could go up even higher.

That could mean driving your full-size pickup truck or SUV less, trading it in on a more fuel-efficient vehicle or not buying one at all. They’ve been red-hot sellers for several years now.

So what should a consumer consider when plotting a long-term transportation strategy? The electric vehicle is looking more attractive all the time. That same Wall Street Journal has a story, “Electric-Car Startups Lure Big Talent,” spotlighting companies that until I read this story, didn’t even know existed. The “Big Talent” means executives form well-known car manufacturers.

Evolozcity, based in Los Angles, is one of those startups that recently secured $1 billion in funding since Christmas. Faraday Future, based in China, this year has netted $1.5 billion to get established. Lucid Motors is another firm, based in Silicon Valley, that’s joined the electron-powered vehicle parade. So, the financial community is betting on them to succeed, at least at some point.

High-profile Tesla, to be sure, is struggling to bring its “affordable” Model 3 to market in higher economy-of-sale production numbers to make average Joes and Josephine’s consider them. The Chevrolet Bolt, totally electric, is hanging around. But electric vehicle enthusiasts sometimes complain dealers of all makes don’t really push them, and that you have to shop hard to find one.

A few years ago, I read a study that the gas price point that would really sway consumers to plugging in is about $4. I hope we don’t see that any time soon. My Ford F-150 has long been paid for and even though it’s reached the voting age of 18 years old, I’m sure it would campaign for me to keep it, despite its thirst for fuel and an overall mpg at 15 or so.

Electric vehicles will continue to incrementally increase market share, will continue to be more affordable and continue to extend range, lessening buying fears. And, they will need to be charged, whether it’s at work, home at night or on trips. Santee Cooper, with dependable baseload generation, stands ready to keep its customers electrified as our transportation future continues to come into sharper focus.