By Elizabeth Jenkins and Elizabeth Harball
Alaska’s economy is powered by oil. So are the vast majority of cars and trucks worldwide. But globally, the market for electric vehicles is growing. So as more people move away from gasoline powered cars, the big players in the oil industry have started to pay attention — and that includes Alaska.
On a recent weekend, nearly 70 electric vehicles are lined up in a bare parking lot near downtown Juneau. It’s the city’s annual electric vehicle fair. The 1980’s song “Electric Avenue” is playing in the background.
John Cooper is here showing off his two EVs. And he’s proud to say he was one of Juneau’s early adopters.
He invites me inside his fully-electric sedan and pops the keys in the ignition.
Cooper says there are plenty of charging stations in Juneau. Range anxiety isn’t an issue. He says the convenience of owning an electric car was a big selling point…
…Sam Ori, the executive director at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, agrees with Fried that electric vehicles are nothing to scoff at.
The global demand for oil is still increasing, but Ori says as consumers snap up more electric cars, the demand could start to flatten out.
“It’s not as if people are going to stop showing up to buy oil from Alaska,” Ori said. “But the price that they buy that oil is going to be less than it otherwise would have been, because of this change in the oil market. And electric vehicles are a piece of that — a small piece, but they’re going to become a bigger piece of it.”
Already, he says, electric vehicles and more fuel-efficient cars are affecting the global oil market.
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