The Death Of The Fossil Fuel Companys Part Deux

Back on May 30th I wrote an article titled ‘The Death Of The Fossil Fuel Companies – Sell Your Stock Now While It’s Still Worth Something‘, which caused a bit of an uproar. Those who are heavily invested in Fossil Fuel company stocks were less than happy with me. Many people were still willing to listen though, in part because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and in part because the economics make damned good sense. So I’ve been planning a follow up, and here it is.

First, let’s consider fourteen year old Ashton Stark. Ashton converted his father’s 1972 Volkswagen Beetle into an electric. The technology used is pretty primitive (in effect it’s a glorified golf cart), but it’s estimated to be able to travel 50 miles on $0.50 worth of electricity. Nicely done, Ashton!

Second, let’s consider the oil spill. It took three months to cap, and the cap may or may not hold. Exactly how much damage has been done to the environment of the Gulf of Mexico may not be known for decades. Pumping less oil is one way to limit oil spills…

Third, General Motors has announced that they plan to produce 45,000 Chevy Volt extended range electric vehicles in 2012, up from the original plans to produce 30,000 cars. However the number of cars General Motors plans to produce is small compared to Nissan’s plans, the Nissan plant in Smyrna Georgia will be capable of producing 150,000 cars per year, for only that one plant!

Fourth, the Automotive X-Prize is encouraging some really radical thinking about what an automobile needs to be. While some of these designs don’t look all that practical, the research and development can be reused on more practical designs. Or maybe more insane designs, Neil Young’s LincVolt combines excellent fuel economy with recycling, and retro style. Heck, watch the video, you’ll see.

So what does this all mean? Among other things, it means that the Conservative Government’s help in funding the tar sands project is probably a huge waste of taxpayer money. Also the Government of the Province of Alberta is spending a half million per year on lobbying in Washington, and is running a large deficit since the price of oil dropped from it’s high point. The Government of Alberta collects a fee for every barrel of oil pumped in the province, and the drop back to more rational pricing has hit the province really hard. Oh, yes, and an energy industry executive with strong ties to the Tar Sands is out Clean Energy Envoy to the USA. You really have to wonder about these folks in Ottawa – what are they smoking!

All of this means that political satire in Canada is doing quite well. Feel free to tar Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Opposition Leader Michael Ignatief in the game ‘Tar Nation‘ (Flash Required). My thanks to the Toronto Sun for writing about the game.

So we have the auto companies now realizing that there’s big money to be made out of electric cars, and the Governments of the Province of Alberta and the Dominion of Canada throwing away money developing the dirtiest energy source that they can.

Sheesh. I’m proud of my country, but we have some damned stupid politicians.

And on a final note, The Gates Foundation is investing in BP and Exxon Mobil. A charity that is supposed to be investing in the future, buys a stake in the companies that are ruining the planet? Good work Bill.


Wayne Borean

Friday August 27, 2010


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