The argument on when the world’s oil supply will start dwindling is a running battle that has been going on for the better part of forty years. Pretty much everyone at this point though has figured out that at the rate we are sucking up oil (85 million barrels per day) that it won’t last for much longer. That means we need alternatives, and fast.
While one of the main arguments in favor of alternative fuels and electric vehicles is environmental concerns, I think the U.S. needs to take a look at China’s playbook. They make no bones about it; their green initiatives are about energy security and ensuring they don’t get stuck with unfavorable allies who supply the dino juice.
A piece in the Detroit News reveals that many of China’s green energy initiatives are more about self-preservation than saving the environment. After all, much of China is one big environmental disaster, from the hundreds of coal-fired power plants to the perpetual smog clouds that hang over many mega cities. China is the second largest user of oil worldwide at about 7.5 million barrels per day. That is still only about a third of America’s daily consumption of 20 million barrels a day.
China imports over half of its oil supplies, and in the last couple of years it surpassed the U.S. as the largest buyer of new cars. Production of new cars is expected to increase to the tune of almost 20 million vehicles by 2016, nearly double the expected U.S. market in coming years. China is going to need a lot more oil, but the U.S. still gets a lion’s share of oil. That is why the Chinese government is pushing electric cars and clean energy, and I think it is a policy that might be more effective in the U.S. We hear a lot about energy security these days, and it is no secret that two of our largest suppliers of crude, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, have less-than-perfect track records in regards to human rights.
China wants to be self-sustaining so they don’t rely on other countries. This is why they are building bullet trains and encouraging electric vehicles from private manufacturers. America should have taken up this mantle a long time ago, but it isn’t too late. It might convince a few of those fence sitters, after all, and it would make a lot more sense at the pump too.
Source: Detroit News