Thursday, May 19, 2022
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    Arshiya Jahanpour on cars

    For over a century, transportation the world over has depended upon fossil fuels to power personal vehicles, planes, and more. As such, those working to innovate alternative forms of energy find themselves fighting a multi-faceted battle. We humans are highly dependent upon big oil, from powering our personal vehicles to powering our homes.

    However, times are changing, and the only way for oil companies to survive is to adapt.

    Three major changes are coming to big oil, and these changes will affect the way we drive.

    One of the major changes has to do with regulation. Governments that are pushing for renewable energy are levying more and more regulations on big oil and on the cars we drive. For instance, in the United Kingdom, there is a major push to become carbon neutral by 2050. This means that, within three decades, no one will be driving gas-powered cars. A good way to relate this change would be similar to what our ancestors did when they stopped using wagons pulled by horses, mules, or cattle – a transformational change. Experts are saying the move to electric powered vehicles will come much faster than the conversion to gas-powered vehicles.

    Beginning in 2020, the world’s merchant fleet was required to use low sulphur fuel. The International Maritime Organization could find no way to prevent this regulation coming to fruition, and businesses found the proper fuel to run cargo ships.

    Another reason people will move to electric cars more quickly is the rapidly-changing technology that is constantly improving. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s likely necessity as regulations tighten down on emissions that more and more automakers will continue to innovate in order to meet new demands. Unfortunately, the oil and gas industry are more prone to slower adaptation than other industries. This could spell doom for fossil fuels in cars.

    What will sell electric vehicles is the presence of a long-lasting, quickly charging fuel cell. The issue with electric cars today is that they draw a great deal of electricity, especially when one chooses to charge the fuel cell battery at home using 110 volt outlets. Using a 220 volt outlet increases charging time, but it still pulls a great deal of power from one’s home. There are no current data on how much a kilowatt of electricity will cost.

    Of course, there is technology being developed which would allow for the friction of the wind to charge fuel cell batteries. If electric vehicle engineers and automakers can harness this type of charging power, then even the need for electricity in one’s home to charge the car would be obsolete.

    Climate change is an issue that is garnering more and more attention. No matter how one feels about climate change, no one can deny that the population of the planet has exploded in recent years. This means that more natural resources are being utilized (at such a heavy rate that some cannot be replaced in a timely manner) and the expectation of a materialistic well-being is affecting the climate in ways we have yet to fully understand. As long as the population of the world continues to grow, we humans will have to adapt to these changes.

    The increase in population points to an increase in earth’s surface temperatures. Not only does this change the lives of people in coastal communities, but it will increase extreme climate events in places all over the world. This could affect political policy, which affects thousands, if not millions of people across the globe. We could also see a reduction in crops, which means possible disruptions to the food chain.

    However, this isn’t all gloom and doom. Investors can and should begin backing technological innovation. Oil and gas companies as well as automotive companies should be investing in innovative technology so that they don’t follow the dinosaur and become extinct. In fact, big oil and automotive companies could very well be the energy tech giants of the future.

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