Are Oil Companies Running Interference on EV Charging Stations?

It would be an understatement to assume that “Big Oil” is a little nervous about the proliferation of electric vehicles. They are reportedly taking matters into their own hands and doing their best impression of repeating the 1990’s electric car collapse. To do this, they are looking to prevent utilities from gaining a slice of the charging station pie. Or in other words, they are looking to protect their market share as the rates of electric vehicles will rise to close to 50% of all new cars produced by 2040.

It will be difficult for Big Oil to stop Texas utilities from pursuing charging station investments. The electricity market is deregulated for one, and it also makes a lot of sense for customers and utilities to work together on adopting a stronger charging station infrastructure across Texas because there’s a lot to gain overall.

The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) states that Texas utilities especially can make a big impact on the adoption of electric vehicles given that they can offer low monthly fees for charging station usage, incentives for customers who buy electric vehicles, free charging at night when demand is low and wind energy isn’t being fully utilized anyway, as well as smart technology that can link with EVs and educational efforts on electric vehicles and rates. 

Collective efforts and market reinforcements will not only decrease the overall cost of electric vehicles (despite sizable tax credits), but will also eventually cheapen the overall cost and will increase charging station frequency, meaning more convenience for consumers. Those in California are struggling to find enough charging ports. Preventing that from happening in Texas, before EV purchases ramp up, would be smart.

Fighting the Inevitable Rise of Electric Vehicles

There’s no guarantee that electric vehicles will dominate future markets, but signs seem to point in that direction. This is bad news for Big Oil, which gets a large share of capital from our reliance on internal combustion engines. 

All of this is not meant to demonize Big Oil or take cheap shots, but just to capture a snapshot of the free market’s continual tug-of-war between powerful players. Conglomerates need to employ strategies for self-preservation. And after all, utilities pushing for charging stations don’t all have the environment in mind. As stated in this article by Politico, many utilities are pushing for more charging stations because it means they can charge customers more on a monthly basis. An indirect result of higher fees also happens to mean more electrification across the board and less greenhouse gas.


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