I am a chemical engineer with more than 30 years of experience in the international oil business, mainly in the manufacture of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
We have resided in the Grand Valley for 30 years and have driven electric vehicles (EVs) for the last seven years.
EVs are much cheaper to operate compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. An EV costs $3 to drive 100 miles here in the Grand Valley. An ICE car getting 20 mpg cost $15. An EV has no routine maintenance. No filters, no oil, no transmission, no belts, and the brakes never wear out. Overall, an EV driver will save thousands per year when compared to an ICE driver.
The fuel for EVs (electricity) is local, and the price is stable. We don't import electricity from the Middle East. If oil from the Middle East slows or stops, the price of gasoline soars. Paying $10 a gallon is not out of the question, at which point an ICE driver pays $50 to drive 100 miles. Meanwhile, an EV driver still pays $3.
Trillions of US taxpayer dollars have been spent in the Middle East defending the flow of oil. All the countries we invade or threaten to invade have large deposits of oil: Iraq, Venezuela, Iran. We spend billions helping Saudi Arabia brutalize Yemen. Why? Because Saudi Arabia has oil. We ignore the murder and dismemberment of an American resident by Saudi Arabia because of oil. The politics of international oil corrupts our morality and drains our blood and treasure. EVs help free us from this corruption.
The flow of oil is controlled by cartels in a handful of countries. Electricity is not. Gasoline and diesel come from one source: crude oil. Electricity is produced from coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, pig manure, and more. Control by despots and cartels is not possible.
Many of our politicians fear the economic freedom offered by EVs and desperately want to keep us addicted to fossil fuels. Many politicians want to keep draining our wallets so that their big donors, the fossil fuel companies, make more profits. Many of these same politicians also enrich themselves through their own fossil fuel investments. They serve their oil company masters and themselves, not us.
Our Mesa County commissioners recently approved a resolution rejecting Colorado's zero emission vehicle (ZEV) program. They argue that the ZEV program is not part of a "free society based on individual economic freedom." Does a free society spend trillions of tax dollars and blood of our soldiers defending the flow of oil while simultaneously suppressing all alternatives?
In their resolution, our commissioners argue that under the ZEV program, statewide electricity use will increase by 27% by 2050 and that this "massive" increase will result in rate hikes for everyone. (It won't). The commissioners believe this growth of the electrical sector is a bad thing. Does this same logic apply to Jordan Cove? Will a massive increase in natural gas demand from Jordan Cove result in increased gas rates for everyone on the Western Slope? Will a $200 heating bill jump to $400 or even $600? Our commissioners rejoice at the prospect of a 27% increase in natural gas production. Why not the same enthusiasm for a 27% increase in electricity generation? Our commissioners are biased towards fossil fuels at the expense of all other forms of energy. This is not how a 'free society' functions.
The commissioners do make one or two valid points. EVs don't pay state and federal gas tax because they don't use gasoline. This needs to be addressed. And yes, EVs cannot now cover all our transportation needs. You may need a pickup to tow trailers, but you don't need one to go the grocery store or shuttle the kids around. Contrary to the commissioner's resolution, the ZEV program will not remove pickup trucks from the market, nor will it increase the cost of ICE vehicles, and no, farmers won't be forced to drive electric tractors. That's just bunk.
All major car manufacturers are moving to EVs. Ford recently invested $500 million in electric pickup maker Rivian, and Porsche stated that the automobile will evolve more in the next 7 years than it did in the last 70 due to electrification. It's a revolution, and the Western Slope should be a part of it, but it won't with these three commissioners, or anyone like-minded, at the helm. They are fossils much like the industry they serve.