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Feb. 25, 2011

High Anxiety

by Carl Flatow

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The price of oil moved above $100 a barrel, today. Stock market pundits explained that, if this continued, gasoline prices would rise to $4 per gallon and beyond, and this would have a serious negative effect on the American economy. General Motors stock was driven down, in spite of the fact that, first thing this morning, GM declared its first profit since 2004, and its biggest profit in ten years. The stock prices of Ford, Toyota and Honda also closed in the red. The bogey man was oil. The market quickly rebounded in the mid afternoon, from a deep dive earlier in the day when the price of oil dropped back below $100 per barrel.

So what’s holding us back from all rushing out and buying electric cars? Actually there’s a bunch of things in the way.

Electric cars cost more to purchase. That means we have to lay out a bunch more cash for the car, and often, thousands more for a special fast charger, but that, although it’s a significant issue, is not what I think is really the biggest issue holding us back.

Range anxiety, the concern that if our fully charged batteries can take us 50 miles we might need to go 51 miles, today, is probably the biggest problem people worry about. Don’t worry. The auto industry has a variety of solutions coming down the ‘pike. Some familiar, some less so. TBC….

About Carl Flatow

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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