European countries made a decision following the 1970s when OPEC held the world hostage for oil. They decided they were going to diversify their energy portfolios and reduce the impacts that OPEC would have on their economies. Renewable energy has found quite the secure home across Europe. Their problems aren’t completely solved today, but they’re far closer than we in the U.S. are.
In the past few years, a push for electric vehicles has taken root in Europe. Spain wants 1 million hybrid or electric cars on its roads by 2014. 25,000 charging stations could be in England by 2015. France is building a national network of charging stations. Europe is in the growing stages of a race to deploy electric cars. The U.S. continues to lag far behind European countries in fuel economy standards because our domestic auto manufacturers’ executives stuck their fingers in their ears and made fun reality as it passed them by.
Overall, investing in electric cars is up. Charging stations, regardless of country, will have to be built. Standards will have to be decided upon. Our past decisions will heavily and negatively impact our ability to lead the world in future decisions.
Back to OPEC – one of the deciding factors on the acceptance of electric vehicles will be the availability and thus the cost of oil. World oil reserves are likely only 2/3 that reported by the oil cartel. With that much of a discrepancy, even $2.80 gas is underpriced. When shortages appear in the upcoming years, price shocks will result because of OPECs unwillingness to tell the truth.