IT is probably just me, but I cannot wrap my head around a group calling itself “Just Stop Oil” promoting its cause and publicizing its protest activities on the “X” social media platform. It takes a colossal lack of self-awareness to post an “X” message using a Smartphone or computer through the Internet, which is all 100 percent dependent on crude oil.
“I could never kill an animal for food. I get my meat from the supermarket.” Non compos mentis.
However, stupid thinking aside, humans are a remarkable life form. Whether the result of a spark of some alien DNA, the Hand of God, or an incredible coincidence of evolution, people are amazing. And it has to be more than simply opposable thumbs and relatively large and complex brains.
The Banaue Rice Terraces, a technological feat of both imagination and engineering, might be 2,000 years old. The Parthenon was dedicated to the goddess Athena during the fifth century BC. The earliest tin-copper-alloy (bronze) artifact has been dated to 4650 BCE, in a Vinča culture site in Serbia. Was there an anti-mining, anti-smelting “Just Stop Bronze” movement back then?
Hoping to rile the anger of every socialist/government controlled-economy fool, let me say this. The march of technology was driven by the mostly-free market.
Copper was ultimately too soft for tools and was replaced with bronze alloy as a material for manufacturing everything from shovels to axes. Shipbuilding flourished with the use of bronze, enabling long-distance trade. And what is “trade”? Making money, lots of money. Ancient Greek cities, big and small, built temples to the gods because they were great tourist attractions.
We see the same market-driven march of technology today. In 1908, Henry Ford introduced the mass-produced Model T. By 1929, 60 percent of American families owned a car. In December 1992, the first cellphone text message was sent. In 2021, the number of mobile devices operating worldwide stood at almost 15 billion with 5.60 billion unique mobile phone users.
But technology does not spread equally across the world. In 1949 the commercial jingle was “See The USA In Your Chevrolet.” Yet even today “Motor Vehicles per 1,000 Population” is less than 100 in countries such as Jamaica, Indonesia, Egypt, India, and Pakistan. Compare that with Canada and Finland (790), New Zealand (884), and the US (908).
You may be like me that had a Nokia 3210 before I had a household landline. While the government was still legislating a “Landline in Every Barangay,” the market had already moved to the new technology.
The government-mandated technology that we must now embrace is “Electric Vehicles,” achieved through taxpayer subsidies. Norway’s generous tax incentives and subsidies for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure have created the world’s most successful market for battery-powered autos. EV owners even paid 50 percent of the fee for public ferries, toll roads and parking facilities.
Last year Norway eliminated incentives for purchases of new EVs, triggering a 20 percent drop in private-car registrations. Interesting note as other nations reduce EV subsidies. The price of battery-grade lithium carbonate has crashed in the last 12 months. This downward pressure is attributed to oversupplied markets in Asia, primarily because the global adoption rate of electric vehicles has notably slowed amid high interest rates as the consumer decides what to buy. Since November 2022, the average price of battery-grade lithium carbonate in China plunged about 78 percent.
The Philippines now has a tariff reduction on EVs and spare parts down to 0 percent. There is also the ‘EV Industry Development Act’ (EVIDA), a roadmap to include the development of charging stations and manufacturing of components. Furthermore, EVIDA mandates the government and companies meet the EV 5 percent quota on their vehicle fleets.
“Philippine EV Summit Shows Positive Developments, Predicts 6.6 million EVs On The Road By 2030.” However, “Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines estimates show that for now until 2030, over half of the projected 6.6 million e-vehicles will still be two-wheeled vehicles. Based on this prediction, by 2030, electric tricycles may account for 25 percent of market share. This means that 15 percent will be shared by electric buses, commercial vehicles and equipment [10 percent] leaving about 5 percent for cars.”
It makes perfect sense for two-wheeled vehicles and tricycles as well as commercial buses, etc. to go electric based on initial cost and future maintenance. But do you really want to pay your taxes to subsidize the cost and infrastructure for my Cadillac Celestiq?
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