Change is difficult. Human beings are creatures of habit and it is in our nature to avoid change. Shifting our private transportation fleet from vehicles burning fossil fuels to plug in electric vehicles is going to be a huge undertaking.
And as is the case with all new disruptive technologies, there will be winners and losers as old technology takes off while new technology proliferates. The oil and gas industry already knows that electric vehicles are poised to replace vehicles with internal combustion engines, and demand for its products will fall drastically in the coming years.
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t going down without a fight.
For example, Wyoming introduced legislation expected to phase out the sale of electric vehicles in the state by 2035. The legislation’s sponsor, Sen. Jim Anderson, R-Casper, told Cowboy State Daily that the reason he introduced the resolution was “to push back against banning new sales of cars with internal combustion engines in states like California and New York.” ”
“Whereas, the United States has continued to invest in the oil and gas industry to maintain gas-powered vehicles, and that investment has resulted in the continued employment of thousands of people in the oil and gas industry in Wyoming and throughout the country. .. ” – phasing out the sale of new electric vehicles by 2035
The proposal, titled “Phasing Out Sales of New Electric Vehicles by 2035,” was introduced last Friday, and it already has strong support from members of the Wyoming House of Representatives and Senate.
However, like everything else, the devil is always in the details. Once you read through the resolution and get to sections one and two below, you can see that this is more of a symbolic gesture than an outright ban. see below:
- section 1. WHEREAS the legislature encourages and expresses as a goal the phase-out of the sale of new electric vehicles in the State of Wyoming by 2035.
- Section 2. That the legislature encourage Wyoming’s industries and citizens to limit the sale and purchase of new electric vehicles in Wyoming with the goal of phasing out the sale of new electric vehicles in Wyoming by 2035.
The resolution is basically encouraging Wyoming residents and businesses not to buy or sell electric vehicles, with the goal of phasing out them completely by 2035. but why? Why does Wyoming care if people switch to electric vehicles?
Wyoming cares because it is an oil and gas state. Even though Wyoming is the least populous state in the nation with just over half a million residents (0.17% of the US population), it is the eighth largest oil producer in the US.
The resolution literally highlights how the oil and gas industry employs thousands of Wyoming residents and their continued employment is threatened by the transition to electric vehicles. Reading through the document, one can sense the sponsors’ anxiety about the electric future.
It also has its fair share of fear-mongering as it predicts an imminent disaster because: “… the critical minerals used in electric batteries are not easily recyclable or disposable, which means that Wyoming and other Municipal landfills in places will need to develop practices to safely and responsibly dispose of these minerals.”
Volkswagen batteries being taken for recycling
It is true that eventually, EV batteries will need to be replaced and disposed of once they are at the end of life. However, the minerals used in EV batteries are very valuable and will not end up in landfills, they will be recycled. 90% of today’s EV batteries are made to be recycled, and companies are being set up around the world to handle that task.
The resolution may be more on the tongue than a serious piece of legislation, but it highlights a serious issue for Wyoming. Electric vehicles are coming. It doesn’t really matter whether states ban internal combustion vehicles or not, because in 10 to 15 years’ time, very few people will want to buy one — and that includes most Wyoming residents.
Instead of trying to fight the inevitable, Wyoming needs to plan for an economic future that relies more heavily on other industries. They know they have to, and perhaps the stunt was really designed to get the attention of those in the federal government who could help.