The Lost Art of Connecting Dots: Part Seventeen

Ya know what? I’ve had it. I’m tired of all the foot-dragging, mindless resistance, and ideological opposition to electric vehicles (EV). We have to ban fossil fuels, stop polluting the environment, stop feeding plants with the carbon dioxide they need for photosynthesis, and start saving money because it’s demonstrably less expensive to … oh, shit. Hold on a minute.

Sorry. This just in: “Which is more expensive: Charging an electric vehicle or fueling a car with gas?”:

EVs cost more to “fuel” than gasoline cars that get reasonable gas mileage … On a yearly basis, assuming [a] mid-priced cars traveled 12,000 miles, it would cost $1,030 to drive an internal combustion car and $1,554 to drive an EV. For luxury cars that get 26 miles per gallon and use premium gas … the cost to drive an internal combustion car 100 miles is $12.60. The cost to drive a luxury EV … is $15.52 to travel 100 miles … [including] the extra EV taxes, the commercial charging and the home charging and the allowance of driving to a gas station, which, for most Americans, is very short compared to driving to a commercial charger.”

Well, yeah. But see, here’s the thing: As a client once said to me, those are just numbers. If you actually believe in things like empiricism and numerical values. Fine. If not, it’s clearly less expensive to drive an EV — but only if you ignore things like empiricism and numerical values. It also makes much more sense if you ignore the fact that the electricity for your EV will come from fossil-fuel-driven generators. It’s kind of an ironic little circle … if you have a sense of irony.

And then, of course, there’s the trivial matter of rare minerals and rare earth elements to consider:

At the heart of every EV [electric vehicle], solar panel, and wind turbine there is a bevy of rare minerals which are fast becoming rarer thanks to our ‘inevitable transition’ to an all wind and sun powered future and the much-heralded (and overhyped) shift to all EV motoring … the materials needed to convert those resources into electricity — minerals like cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel, and the rare-earth elements, or REEs — are anything but. Some of them, in fact, are far scarcer than petroleum.

But let’s not quibble or panic. If you don’t care what happens to the earth while you’re trying to save it, there’s nothing to worry about. And since there haven’t been any supply-chain problems in a while — to say nothing of political troubles — then the stuff in the following paragraph is just Advanced Whining:

A typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional oil-powered vehicle … copper for electrical wiring plus the cobalt, graphite, lithium, and nickel … In addition, rare-earth elements will be essential for the permanent magnets installed in EV motors … Cobalt is another key component of lithium-ion batteries … it’s almost entirely produced thanks to copper mining in the violent, chaotic Democratic Republic of the Congo … Rare-earth elements encompass a group of 17 metallic substances scattered across the Earth’s surface … including dysprosium, lanthanum, neodymium, and terbium … approximately 70% of REEs come from China, perhaps 12% from Australia, and 8% from the U.S. A mere glance at the location of such concentrations suggests that the green-energy transition envisioned by President Biden and other world leaders may encounter severe geopolitical problems.

Seriously? We’re going to shove EVs down people’s driveways and we still want to care about the havoc wreaked by the location of the stuff we’ll need to make and operate them? Come on.

As a final note, try to wrap your head around this. My friend, Jim Vinoski, wrote an article for Forbes entitled, “Rare Earths From Coal Ash Using A Coca-Cola Ingredient? Sandia Says Maybe”. It says this in part:

Sandia National Laboratories announced this week that its researchers have successfully extracted rare earth elements (REEs) from coal ash using food-grade citric acid … The usual method for producing REEs is through heavy mining, and chemical extraction and precipitation of the REEs from the mined ore … the extraction method is focused on coal ash, waste from burning coal which is relatively rich in REEs.

Got that? Our political betters are prescribing EVs for all of us — and proscribing fossil fuels — but we’re going to derive REEs for EV batteries from burning coal. I’m absolutely positive that makes sense in some universe somewhere. But not in this one.

Look. All of that stuff is just a creel full of red herring anyway. We’re on a mission to save the planet here, kids. The settled science tells the elimination of life as we know it is imminent — and we’re to blame! And the biggest threat to the planet (after cow farts) is the internal combustion engine, which relies on fossil fuels. So, please don’t tell me you’d let the threat of a global geopolitical war (to say nothing of stupefyingly self-confounding logic) stand in the way of EVs. If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs, right?

This is no time for penny wisdom and pound foolishness.


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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  1. Interesting points Mark. Seems they want to substitute our reliance on “foreign oils” with a reliance on “foreign minerals.” Guess they needed to sneak that into the Build Better Baby Back Ribs plan. Regardless of being conservative or liberal, I think most of us in the civilized world – if we can even call it that anymore – don’t want to live like pigs. Global warming is not exclusive to Democrat branding. Just because they promote and endorse the green agenda, doesn’t mean conservatives are mindless coal-eating, gas-guzzling devils. It’s just not that simple to replace one industry backbone with another. The worst part is that, at no point in the past 100 years, has anyone in power suggested that we could live with both alternatives. Why not present a world with both capable energy options? Competition is good for economics, but we already know the real answer to that question… because logic always interferes political ambition. Regards…

    • Hi, Aaron. Thank you for your comments. To your question — “Why not present a world with both capable energy options? — there are two answers:

      1. Control.

      2. If you can’t dazzle ‘em with brilliance, baffle ‘em with bullshit.

      They know the preponderance of us will never question anything. And when realizing what we’ve lost is followed by wailing and gnashing of teeth, they’ll sell us government-rationed dental insurance.

      To quote George Carlin, “Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away.”