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How a Change to Electric Cars Will Change the Way You Heat Your Water


Every day, the United States uses around 375 million barrels of gasoline to fuel its cars, leaf blowers (because who likes to rake?), and the generators that power industrialization. 28% of the total energy we use is directly associated with transportation, and most of that energy comes from “black gold”, more commonly known as oil. Oil production is a powerhouse in the world economy, and it might seem that it is not stopping any time soon. Perhaps this is correct. Many byproducts come from oil that are not gasoline and are needed for a plethora of other purposes. Diesel and heating oil, for instance, make up 23% of the end product. Now I am willing to bet that most homes in America use boilers and heating oil to heat their water, whether it be for showering or cooking. Now look at this statistic: 44% of each barrel of refined oil distills into gasoline. What if you took out 44% of the total profits that oil companies make? What would be the repercussions?


First, let us explore how this could happen. We know that 28% of total energy goes into transportation, and most of that energy is produced via oil. Furthermore, the total demand for electric cars is 740,000 (prep phrase for) per year. It is quite evident that electric cars have not had the time to develope as gasoline cars have, so given time, sources say that the demand for electric cars may be able to surpass that for gasoline powered ones by a large amount.


So what is the effect of this? Imagine 50% of the market for cars is electric. That means 22% of the total profit coming from 1 barrel, or 44 gallons of oil, is lost in the wind. Why? There is a surplus of oil but no market to put the demand and price back into equilibrium. Therefore, that revenue is completely lost. When the number of sellers decreases, the price increases. (Less suppliers mean that there is more competition for the resources to supply the other 50% of the cars.) What happens next? More people switch to the cheaper alternative, and the market for gasoline cars becomes eradicated.

So...what about my showers and the water stuff?


Because there is not enough demand for gasoline, big companies will jack up the prices for everything else to compensate. And guess what the next biggest byproduct of oil is? Heating oil. The price of that stuff that heats your showers will go up to compensate. That red stuff (yes, it is red) is going to cost you much more. So what is the natural reaction to an increase in price? Go to something cheaper.


Now people will move to solar panels, electrical heating, synthetic coal, water energy, nuclear alternatives, and other methods, leaving gasoline prices to keep going up, albeit very slowly because much of the world has developed in divergent paths.


So, I guess we can say that for all these exciting cars and electricity, change in the way we heat water is really far away. But at the same time, it really isn’t.

 Meet the Author: 

 Omar Sumadi

If you are interested learning more about Omar or the rest of the Spectrum Staff, click the button to check out her biography, or go to 'Who We Are." in the main menu.

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