Change is difficult. Humans are creatures of habit and it is in our nature to avoid change. Transitioning our personal transportation fleet from fossil fuel burning vehicles to plug-in electric vehicles will be a huge undertaking.
And as with all new disruptive technologies, there will be winners and losers as old technologies are shut down while new technologies take off. The oil and gas industry already knows that electric vehicles are about to replace the internal combustion engine vehicles it serves, and that demand for its products will drop dramatically in the coming years.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t go down without a fight.
For example, Wyoming just introduced legislation hoping to phase out electric vehicle sales in the state by 2035. The legislation’s sponsor, Sen. Jim Anderson, R-Casper, told Cowboy State Daily why he introduced the resolution. push back new sales bans on internal combustion engine vehicles in states like California and New York.”
“COMBINED, the United States has consistently invested in the oil and gas industry to maintain gas-powered vehicles, and those investments have resulted in thousands of jobs in the oil and gas industry in Wyoming and across the country… – Phaseout of new electric vehicle sales by 2035
Titled “Phase Out Sales of New Electric Vehicles by 2035,” the resolution was introduced last Friday and already has strong support from members of the Wyoming House and Senate.
However, as with all things, the devil is always in the details. After reading the resolution and reaching the first and second sections below, you can see that this is more of a symbolic gesture than an outright prohibition. See below.
- Section 1. That the Legislature encourages and expresses the goal that the sale of new electric vehicles in the State of Wyoming be phased out by 2035.
- Section 2. That the legislature encourage Wyoming industries and citizens to restrict 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 basically encourages Wyoming residents and businesses not to buy or sell electric vehicles, with the goal of eliminating them entirely by 2035. But why: Why does Wyoming care if people switch to electric cars?
Wyoming cares because it’s an oil and gas state. Although Wyoming is the least populous state in the country, 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 spells out how the oil and gas industry employs thousands of Wyoming residents and that the transition to electric vehicles threatens their continued employment. Reading the document, one can feel the anxiety that sponsors have about the electric future.
It also has its share of fear-mongering as it foretells impending disaster because; “…the critical minerals used in electric batteries are not easily recyclable or disposable, meaning municipal landfills in Wyoming and elsewhere will need to develop practices. manage those minerals in a safe and responsible manner.”
The Volkswagen battery is taken for recycling
It’s true that EV batteries eventually need to be replaced and disposed of when they’re dead. However, the minerals used in EV batteries are very valuable and will not end up in a landfill, they will be recycled. 90% of today’s EV batteries are made to be recycled, and there are companies being set up around the world to address this issue.
This resolution may be more of an obfuscation than a serious piece of legislation, but it shines a light on a serious problem in Wyoming. Electric cars are coming. It doesn’t matter if states ban internal combustion vehicles or not, because very few people will want to buy one in 10-15 years, and that includes most Wyoming residents.
Instead of fighting the inevitable, Wyoming needs to start planning for an economic future that relies more heavily on other sectors. They know they have to do it, and perhaps this ploy was really designed to get the attention of the federal government, who might be able to help it.