Chris’ note: The rise of electric vehicles (EVs) and self-driving cars is one of the world’s most unstoppable trends… and it’s just getting started.
Yesterday, in the first part of our discussion, Doug Casey told us why this megatrend needs to be on your radar today.
Below, we pick up where we left off and talk about what this means for certain commodities… what the investing implications are… and much more…
Chris: Doug, what happens to oil as EVs and self-driving cars go mainstream?
Doug: Almost all gasoline is used for vehicles. In fact, something like 75% of oil production is used for transportation. So, this will put a cap on petroleum prices. There’s going to be a glut of oil. Petroleum’s main use is basically going to be a feed stock for plastics and things of that nature. It’s going to collapse the production, if not the prices, of corn, palm oil, and perhaps sugar as well, because so much of those crops are – idiotically – used as biofuels.
Based on that, it doesn’t make any sense to own an oil company for the long-term. Pipelines, tank farms, refineries… there will be a lot less of them. The auto insurance industry is going to have to find something else to do for a living. Ambulance-chasing lawyers are going to get less business because there will be fewer auto accidents. Drunk driving won’t be much of a problem.
Chris: I totally agree with your outlook. I mean, we’ll probably see a few more oil and oil stocks rallies in the coming years. But the long-term outlook is not promising.
Doug: This has major geopolitical implications, too. Many countries, mostly in the Muslim world, produce nothing except oil. They got lucky the stuff was buried under their sand, and Westerners showed them what to do with it. However, most of them have frittered away the proceeds, and now they don’t know how to do anything but produce a surplus of unskilled people. Those places are going to collapse. Oil will still be of value, of course – but at nowhere near the gross revenues it is today.
So, big geopolitical changes are coming to the Middle East.
This will also affect Russia, which is essentially just a gas station with an attached gun store in the middle of a wheat field. It’s going to have a huge positive effect, however, on oil importers – especially Japan. Self-driving EVs will cause a gigantic economic earthquake. And nobody is looking at it or talking about it yet.
Chris: It’s going to be fascinating to see how this all shakes out. Other than oil and battery metals, what other commodities stand to gain or lose the most from EVs and self-driving vehicles?
Doug: Well, I’ve long been a believer that nuclear is by far the safest, cheapest, and cleanest form of mass power generation. Of course, it’s subject to so much mass hysteria and misinformation that it’s highly regulated and highly politicized. That’s why today’s costs are many times higher than they should be.
We’re using 60-year-old technology as a result. Which is silly, but still far safer and cleaner than coal or oil.
But if the technology had been allowed to evolve in a free market, we wouldn’t be using gigantic, centralized, gigawatt-sized plants. We would instead be using small, self-contained, 50-megawatt units that can be buried, with no need of service for 10 years, until they need to be refueled.
The technology is out there, but politics and hysteria have kept these things in the closet. And the fuel doesn’t have to be uranium – which was used because of the U.S. nuclear weapons program. It could be thorium, which is vastly harder to weaponize. But that’s off-topic.
There’s no point crying over past mistakes though. It’s been said that, after hydrogen, stupidity is the most common thing in the universe. One of the real bright sides about the change to EVs is that it will greatly increase the demand for electricity, and there will be a boom in nuclear, which is the only sensible way to provide it.
As for technologies like wind and solar, they’re still comparatively uneconomic. Although there’s definitely a place for them in remote locations, and for personal use in houses. Fortunately, their efficiency is also advancing, and their costs declining, at the rate of Moore’s Law.
The bottom line is that the whole world is going electric. Fossil fuels are no longer going to be fuels. They’re going to be basically feed stocks – primarily plastics, fertilizers, chemicals, lubricants, and the like. The demand for gasoline and diesel – which is the vast majority of oil usage – is going way down.
Chris: It’s clear you have a lot of conviction in this idea. Have you made any major bets on EVs or self-driving cars?
Doug: Well, I recently made a large investment in a private company that’s accumulating royalties on battery metals. And I generally hate private companies, especially now, when we’re on the ragged edge of a collapse of the financial markets. But it’s a royalty company, and collecting royalties from financing mining operations is by far the safest way to invest in mining.
So that’s the way I’m speculating in weird metals that few people can find on the Periodic Table. That includes so-called rare earth elements; they’ll become more and more important as technology keeps advancing. About 80% of them are produced in China. So, there will be opportunities for developing new deposits in more politically reliable parts of the world.
Chris: Yeah, that will be an interesting space to watch going forward. One last question, do you own an EV or plan on purchasing one?
Doug: No, I don’t. It’s impractical here in South America right now. Socialist countries are always technologically backward. I’m here for the lifestyle, not to be on the cutting edge. Self-driving EVs will come first to advanced parts of the world – and this isn’t one of them. And I doubt I’ll get one in the United States. When I want another car, I’ll probably get another ICE. A slightly used one, because their prices are likely to collapse in the near future. I hope I won’t seem an anachronism, driving an ICE in a world of self-driving EVs. Like Grandma Duck, when she drove an EV in a world of ICEs…
But the changeover is going to happen very fast – starting right now. Make sure you’re not adversely affected by having money in the wrong places, real estate and energy companies among them.
Chris: Thanks, Doug.
Doug: You’re welcome.
Chris’ note: Our in-house commodities expert Dave Forest recently returned from a closed-door meeting in Silicon Valley. What he learned about the EV revolution will shock you…
There’s a new technology emerging in the space that nobody is talking about right now. It could soon render all of Tesla’s vehicles obsolete… and derail the entire electric vehicle revolution.
Dave shares all the details in his new video presentation… Go here to get caught up on this important story.