Ban Planning: Learning from History

So, California is banning gasoline vehicles.  Well, not exactly … they are banning the sale of new ones in the state.

What is that going to do?  Well, as more and more electric vehicles are on the road, the price of gasoline will start to slide.  And, with all this push for electrics the price of them is likely to rise because of the rare earth elements that have increased in price by a factor of ten over the past year alone.

Do you remember the ban on use of natural gas in baseload power plants back in the early 1980s?  Utilities had only two choices for baseload generation: coal and nuclear.  Ten years later, the ban was eliminated.   Now we are essentially banning coal in new generation and working towards shutting down most if not all of it as the pressure to reduce carbon emissions increases.

Utilities do not like uncertainty.  They are in the business of planning and building and maintaining large energy systems.  All this talk of banning this and that makes them very nervous.  They remember history all too well, and face regulatory and political scrutiny by those who have no reverence or respect for the planning process … they want to second guess everyone, and especially if they can score some political points in the process.

So, the good news is that this ban in California should be good for the electric utilities there and increase their energy output.  Of course, nobody is looking at the reality of what that will really mean in real time as a rollout.  The devil in those details will emerge over time.  Nobody is talking about the loss in tax revenues as all these EVs replace those gas guzzling alternatives that have been paying taxes to keep the roads paved.  Nobody has thought through where the EV chargers should be, which a critical thinker would conclude should be where gas stations are.

Anyone who owns an EV and travels extensively as I do knows that the charging stations are generally in shopping malls where people can spend the hour it takes doing something.

Theatre … that is what you are watching … not planning.  It does make great theatre for sure.

Nothing happens as quickly as promised.  Gasoline cars do not wear out like they did when I was a kid, especially in the benign weather of California.

We saw the used car market explode because the new car supply chain was unable to meet demand.  Do I really have to say more?


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