I do not think that alternative energies will be able to fully displace conventional fossil fuels, at least not any time soon. Electric cars are an example of trying to go from fossil fuels to alternative energies. The batteries used in electric cars are dependent on rare earth elements and neodymium, which are largely produced in China. This becomes a geopolitical issue, as it would require China to produce more of the elements and export them (Module Notes 6: Green). This would cause a rivalry amongst oil companies, as their profit would begin to decrease if electric cars increase. This would also require an increase of usage on the power grid, which in turn would possibly require fossil fuels to increase in order to support the power grid. The only way that these rivalries could possibly be overcome is if the oil companies were able to have stake or become the “middle man” in the export of the rare earth elements required to make the electric cars. One might also consider the fact that if the elements are so rare that they may not be able to support a complete overturn from fossil fuel cars to electric cars. This is important to consider as well, as it would require companies to seek alternative ways to run electric cars or would need to have a back up for the cars in case the elements start to decrease, thus becoming harder to find.
In my estimation, I do not believe that all-electric vehicles are a realistic alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles. Due to the rareness of the elements required to support the vehicles, I think that the elements would run out, become too expensive, or become an issue of geopolitics. An example of the geopolitical issue would be how China stopped the export of REEs to Japan in 2010 for political leverage (Module Notes 6: Green). I think that an alternative would need to be invented in order to avoid a situation where a country would be cut off from the REEs required to make electric power vehicles. It is possible that a vehicle that uses a more common element could be made in order to move away from gasoline-powered vehicles and move towards a more eco-friendly vehicle.
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