The United States are producing more oil in recent years, importing less and exporting more.  That according to St. Cloud State Economist King Banaian, who joined me on WJON today.  He says the trend in the country indicates we are consuming marginally less oil from year to year.  The reason for this isn't just because of hybrid or electric vehicles, but it is because the U.S. produces more energy than we ever had and how efficient we are with the energy we produce, has improved.

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I asked King if there was a time where hybrid or electric vehicles were the least expensive on the market would they be the most popular?  He indicated that yes they would be the most popular.  Banaian explains that electric vehicles are more expensive to produce and the lithium batteries required for each vehicle are imported largely from China.  He says many of these vehicles require rare minerals that are mined outside the U.S. because we don't want the environmental damage that acquiring these minerals cause.

If the minerals needed to produce batteries were acquired differently, Banaian feels there would be an increased trend toward electric vehicles in this country.  Another complication of electric vehicles is also the lack of infrastructure readiness for a large amount of electric vehicles on the road at once.  Banaian feels there is an uncertainty about the length of battery life, locations to charge the batteries and the cost to repair electric vehicles.

Many technologies take awhile to take hold.  Banaian wouldn't predict when or if electric cars would overtake gas powered vehicles as the top mode of transportation on roads in America.  If you'd like to listen to my conversation with King Banaian it is available below.



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