Are Electric Vehicles the Answer for Montana’s Energy Future?
With oil prices and subsequently gas prices rising due to global issues, many are saying that the time has come to make the switch to electric vehicles.
On the KGVO Talk Back show, Bob Seidenschwarz, representing the Montana World Affairs Council, hosted Goeffrey Styles, Managing Director of GSW Strategy Group, who is widely known and respected within the energy sector throughout the world.
Styles began by comparing the 1980 energy crisis with the worldwide situation today.
“In 2019, which was kind of the last normal year pre-COVID, our net oil imports grew about three percent of our consumption,” said Styles. “That compares to about 37 percent of consumption that was being imported in 1980, and a lot of that was from the Middle East. Natural gas? We’re actually a net exporter of natural gas. Roughly two percent of our production is exported, compared to about 5 percent of consumption being imported. Most of that was coming from Canada in 1980.”
Styles then drew a comparison of the possible savings between electric vehicles and gasoline vehicles.
“From the EV's that were sold last year, so the 435,000 electric vehicles that were sold in the US last year, if you figure out how much gasoline they actually saved it's only 13.6 thousand barrels per day in a market of roughly 20 million barrels per day,” he said.
Styles then looked at the global pandemic and its minimal effect on reducing worldwide carbon emissions.
“If shutting down most of the global economy for parts of 2020 only saved six to eight percent of carbon dioxide emissions for the year, and the task that we have to reduce emissions by enough to meet the Paris target of limiting warming to one and a half degrees Celsius, I just don't know how we get there from here,” he said.
A good part of the hour on Talk Back was taken up by looking at the natural resources necessary to manufacture electric vehicles utilizing rare earth metals from countries like Russia and China. He described a remote area in Mongolia that has been environmentally decimated by rare earth minerals mining and processing.
“China is the global epicenter,” he said. “In fact, I'm looking at a picture right now from an article on the BBC website, and it basically looks like the moon with a few smokestacks. It's in Inner Mongolia, which is part of China. This is where China mines and processes rare earth materials that go to make things that go into your cell phones, and tons of these minerals go into electric vehicles, wind turbines and some solar panels. Most of that stuff is coming from China, and China has turned the place where it produces that stuff into a wasteland.”
Get more information about GSW Strategy Group here.
Click here to listen to the entire 60 minute conversation with Styles.