Electric vehicles are a novelty item and have been for over a century. There is no way that our automobile fleet will be converted from internal combustion to batteries, just as there is no way we can or will replace fossil fuels and nuclear power with wind- and solar-generated electricity. The whole thing is a fantasy. But the damage that will be done to the global economy, livelihoods, and national security in pursuing that fantasy is incalculable.




Does this quote sound familiar?

“The electric automobile will quickly and easily take precedence over all other kinds of motor carriages as soon as an effective battery of light weight is discovered.”

That’s the Los Angeles Times in 1901. How about this one?

“Prices on electric cars will continue to drop until they are within reach of the average family.”

That’s the Washington Post, 1915.

At Substack, Robert Bryce headlines: “Tesla In Turmoil: The EV Meltdown In 10 Charts.” The electric vehicle bubble is bursting, with Tesla, the only semi-successful EV manufacturer so far, in trouble. Its stock price has fallen 41% this year:

Tesla is the bellwether for the EV business, and it’s in trouble. Last week, the company announced it was laying off more than 10%, or about 14,000, of its employees. The move comes after a quarter during which the company missed delivery expectations and just before it reveals its quarterly profits on Tuesday. Here’s what Wired wrote last Thursday about Tesla’s situation: “Demand is dropping for electric cars in the U.S. and Europe, just as competition in China intensifies and workers revolt in Europe. Investors are worried.”

There are now murmurings that Tesla could go bankrupt. I like Elon Musk, and we need him: I fervently hope that he has gotten most of his money out of Tesla.

Robert offers a series of charts that document the problems the EV industry is facing. Sales of EVs (55% of them Teslas) are concentrated in a few states and a handful of very blue counties. Fewer vehicles are being sold overall, and an increasing number of Americans say they won’t consider buying an EV. One reason why consumers don’t want to buy EVs is that they understand charging them is a permanent problem that will prove insoluble if government mandates are actually enforced. Thus:

In 2019, Southern California Edison, one of the biggest investor-owned utilities in California, estimated the amount of juice needed to electrify transportation in the state. The utility found that trying to do so “will increase electric load by nearly 130 terawatt hours — representing more than one-third of the grid-served load” by 2045. The same report estimated the state will need to add at least 80 gigawatts of new zero-carbon electricity generation capacity over the next two decades. But … California’s electricity use is falling. Some of that decline is due to people and industry leaving the state. The other factor may be the high cost of power in the state. Further, California will not add 80 GW of new generation capacity over the next 20 years. The permitting process is far too long, and the costs of trying to do so are too high.

Electric vehicles will always be much more expensive than internal combustion vehicles because they need vast quantities of raw materials:

EVs require massive amounts of metals, minerals, and magnets. This chart uses a screengrab from a 2021 report by the International Energy Agency called “The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions.”

What’s worse is that we depend on the Communist Chinese for those materials:

Last month, the Biden Administration finalized rules requiring U.S. automakers to slash the number of internal combustion-engined vehicles they produce. By 2032, about 60% of the cars they sell must be fully electric. Why, in the name of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, is the Biden crowd so eager to make our auto sector dependent on Chinese supply chains?

This chart tells the story:

Then, worst of all, we have magnets:

Last May, in “The EPA’s China Syndrome,” I explained how the proposed mandate on EVs would make the U.S. dependent on China for “neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets. Those magnets are critical components in electric vehicles and wind turbines as well as in military applications like ship propulsion systems and guided-missile actuators.” The EPA has completely ignored the magnet supply issue. In fact, the word “magnet” doesn’t appear one time in the agency’s 1,200-page final tailpipe rule.

This is pure foolishness. In 2022, the Commerce Department issued a heavily redacted report on Chinese magnets and the threat they pose to our security.

And of course, all of this gets vastly worse if we also try to transition our power system from fossil fuels to wind and solar.

But let’s go back to Robert’s question: why is the Biden Administration trying to turn our future over to the Chinese Communist Party? One explanation is that Biden was the Manchurian Candidate, and the millions of dollars the Chinese have paid him and his family have put him in their pocket. That seems hard to believe. But what is the alternative explanation?

Then we come to the availability of needed natural resources. Apart from the fact that the Chinese control the current supply, we have the question: how will the vastly increased demand for raw materials be met?

[I]f [Richard Herrington, the head of earth sciences at the Natural History Museum in London, and seven colleagues’] numbers are right, electrifying all of U.S. motor vehicles would require roughly 18 times the world’s current cobalt production, about nine times global neodymium output, nearly seven times global lithium production, and about four times world copper production. Even if there were sufficient political will — and money — to attempt an electric overhaul of the transportation sector, there may not be enough cobalt or rare earth elements to meet demand.

And that is just for the U.S. Western European countries are electrifying (or pretending to electrify) their automobile fleets, too. And you could do a comparable calculation for the alleged transition from fossil fuels to wind and solar energy. Even if you assume that the Earth somewhere holds enough raw materials to meet this enormous demand, the mining, manufacturing and transportation effort needed to carry out these mandates would be the greatest since the Industrial Revolution. And how much of that mining do you think would take place in the U.S.? Little or none, under current political conditions.

Electric vehicles are a novelty item and have been for over a century. There is no way that our automobile fleet will be converted from internal combustion to batteries, just as there is no way we can or will replace fossil fuels and nuclear power with wind- and solar-generated electricity. The whole thing is a fantasy. But the damage that will be done to our economy, our livelihoods and our national security, in pursuing that fantasy, is incalculable.




We’re coming up on three and a half years into the Biden presidency — a presidency which from the outset promised an “all of government” regulatory onslaught to force a transition away from fossil fuels and to “green” energy. And the regulatory onslaught has indeed come forth. But how about the actual transition in energy use? Not so much.

Let’s have a round-up of some recent data points.

On the regulatory onslaught front, on March 7, 2024 Thomas Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research put out a list of “200 Ways the Biden Administration and Democrats Have Made it Harder to Produce Oil & Gas.” The list is chronological, beginning with Executive Orders that Biden issued on his first day in office (January 20, 2021) and continuing right up to the date of the post. Yes there is some duplication and overlap in the list (e.g., separately listing multiple steps toward approval of a single regulation); but even with that, the sheer number of efforts to restrict, hamper, harass and extort fossil fuel producers is breathtaking. You will probably remember most of this stuff, but it’s remarkable to see it all put together in one place. By all means look through the full list, but meanwhile here is a small sample of the more significant items:

  • Item 1, January 20, 2021: “[C]anceling the Keystone XL pipeline.”

  • Item 2, also January 20, 2021: “[I]ssuing a moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

  • Item 5, January 27, 2021: “{I}ssu[ing] an executive order announcing a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on public lands.”

  • Item 10, also January 27, 2021: By the same Executive Order, “promoting ‘ending international financing of carbon-intensive fossil fuel-based energy while simultaneously advancing sustainable development and a green recovery.’”

  • Item 14, February 19, 2021: “[R]ejoin[ing] the Paris Climate Agreement.”

  • Item 24, April 22, 2024: “[I]ssu[ing] the U.S. International Climate Finance Plan to funnel international financing toward green industries and away from oil and gas.”

  • Item 33, September 3, 2021: “[I]ssu[ing] a proposed rule that would update the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Model Years 2024–2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks to increase fuel economy regulations on passenger cars and light vehicles.”

  • Item 48, November 12, 2021: “[Issuing] New Source Review . . . regulations target[ing] new, modified, and reconstructed oil and natural gas sources, and would require states to reduce methane emissions from hundreds of thousands of existing sources nationwide for the first time.”

  • Item 66, February 18, 2022: “[Updating policy] for assessing proposed natural gas pipelines, adding new considerations for landowners, environmental justice communities, and other factors. In a separate but related decision, the commission also laid out a framework for evaluating projects’ greenhouse gas emissions.”

  • Item 75, March 21, 2022: “The SEC [issues a] proposed rule [that] would require public companies to disclose greenhouse gas emissions.”

  • Item 95, April 21, 2022: Climate Czar John Kerry announces, “We have to put the industry on notice: You’ve got six years, eight years, no more than 10 years or so, within which you’ve got to come up with a means by which you’re going to capture, and if you’re not capturing, then we have to deploy alternative sources of energy.”

  • Item 105, June 8, 2022: “President Biden’s Interior Department announced it will reduce the fees on renewable projects on federal lands after announcing recently that royalty rates and rents would increase as much as 50% for oil and gas projects on federal lands.”

  • Item 139, January 17, 2023: “Biden appointee [Richard Trumka] proposes ban on gas stoves.”

  • Item 152, April 12, 2023: “[Issuing] new rules to force electric Vehicles on Americans.  The New York Times notes that EPA is releasing rules that are intended to ensure that electric cars represent between 54 and 60 percent of all new cars sold in the United States by 2030 and 64 to 67 percent by 2032—in 9 years.”

  • Item 153, April 12, 2023: “[Issuing] new GHG emissions regulations for heavy duty vehicles.”

  • Item 156, May 15, 2023: “EPA proposes new regulations requiring power plants to reduce GHG emissions and require carbon capture and sequestration or hydrogen co-firing even though these are uneconomic technologies.”

  • Item 167, August 1, 2023: “EPA proposes updated greenhouse gas reporting requirements for the oil and natural gas industry.”

  • Item 171, August 7, 2023: “Biden proposed 236-pages of revisions to NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) guidance to make it harder to permit any natural gas, oil, or coal project.”

  • Item 180, October 27, 2023: “A proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule on hydrofluoric-acid-based alkylation could spur a round of refinery closures as the cost of replacing hydrofluoric acid based alkylation with alternatives is extremely high.”

  • Item 193, January 26, 2024: “Biden halts permitting for new LNG export facilities.”

That’s only 20 of the 200. There are plenty of other significant ones that I skipped over.

At the same time, the Biden Administration has dramatically ramped up subsidies and other favors and incentives for so-called “green” energy. The badly misnamed “Inflation Reduction Act” of August 2022 alone contained over $400 billion of subsidies and handouts to the green energy industry.

So with the double whammy of endless restrictions and harassment of fossil fuel producers, and subsidies for the wind and sun, undoubtedly oil and gas production must be shrinking rapidly? Not at all. In fact, domestic production of both has just recently hit all-time records. Here is a chart of U.S. crude oil production from the EIA, with data through January 2024:

Production reached an all-time record of 13.29 million bbl/day in December 2023, before having a small down-tick in January. The current production level is well over double where it was when Barack Obama took office in 2009. You really have to hand it to these oil and gas producers for somehow getting around whatever the government throws at them.

And here’s another chart from the same source showing natural gas production through December 2023:

From EIA: “U.S. natural gas production grew by 4% in 2023, or 5.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), to average 125.0 Bcf/d, according to our Natural Gas Monthly.” There had also been increases in 2023 and 2022.

Well, but surely the transition to electric vehicles is taking off? Maybe — but the latest data would seem to indicate that the electric vehicle market is suddenly in big trouble. For an overview, Robert Bryce has a long post at his Substack today, titled “Tesla In Turmoil: The EV Meltdown In 10 Charts.” You may know that Tesla has just announced that it is laying off 10% of its workforce. Bryce concludes: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it one more time: Electric vehicles are The Next Big Thing, and they always will be.”

Here’s a chart not from Bryce, but from Statista, on Tesla sales by quarter:

Does it seem that Tesla is going gangbusters? It does until you look closely. Tesla sold 485,000 cars in 4Q 2023, and only 387,000 in 1Q 2024. That’s rather a sudden and dramatic decline. Elsewhere in the EV biz, the story is the same. From Cox Automotive, April 11:

Sales [of EVs in the U.S.] in Q1 rose 2.6% year over year, but fell 15.2% compared to Q4 2023.

Do these declines represent a one-quarter blip, or an accelerating trend. I’m betting with Bryce that this is the trend. My prognosis is that the EV market is close to saturated. I have no interest in buying one of them, let alone paying a premium to do it. Do you? But meanwhile the large automakers (except Toyota) have all made big, big bets that the government can make its mandates stick. If consumers don’t go along, this could be the end of Ford and GM, let alone Audi, Mercedes and BMW. Tough luck, guys.

Our current rulers think that they have infinite ability to tell the people how to live, and infinite money to force the people to change their ways. They are wrong, and reality will catch up to them, if only gradually.