Today’s Key Takeaways: Most Americans don’t want an electric car. Alaska joins nineteen states challenging two natural gas policies recently established by FERC. AK House unanimously passes bill supporting ANWR leasing. Using coal waste to power crypto.
NEWS OF THE DAY:
Electric Cars? No, Thanks, Most Americans Say
Rasmussen Reports, March 22, 2022
Despite soaring gasoline prices, a majority of Americans still don’t think electric cars are practical and aren’t interested in owning one.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that only 32% of American Adults believe electric cars today are practical for most drivers. Fifty-two percent (52%) think electric cars aren’t practical, while 16% say they’re not sure. Those findings are little changed from October. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Thirty-eight percent (38%) say it’s at least somewhat likely their next automobile purchase will be an electric car, up from 28% in October, but 54% don’t think it’s likely their next automobile will be an electric car.
While 35% say the recent increase in gasoline prices has made them more interested in buying an electric car, 56% say higher gas prices haven’t made a difference in their interest.
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans believe it’s likely most cars will still run primarily on gasoline a decade from now, including 33% who say it’s Very Likely gasoline-powered automobiles will still be the norm in 10 years.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. American Adults was conducted on March 15-16, 2022, by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Many more Democrats (57%) than Republicans (23%) or those not affiliated with either major party (35%) to say it’s at least somewhat likely their next automobile purchase will be an electric car. While a majority (51%) of Democrats say the recent increase in gasoline prices has made them more interested in buying an electric car, 70% of Republicans and 60% of unaffiliateds say higher gas prices haven’t increased their interest in electric cars. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Republicans, 35% of Democrats and 52% of the unaffiliated don’t think electric cars today are practical for most drivers. Seventy-three percent (73%) of Republicans, 58% of Democrats and 65% of unaffiliateds believe it’s at least somewhat likely most cars will still run primarily on gasoline 10 years from now.
More men (43%) than women (34%) say it’s at least somewhat likely an electric car will be their next automobile purchase. Men (39%) are also more likely than women (32%) to say higher gas
Whites (29%) are less likely than blacks (36%) or other minorities (38%) to believe electric cars today are practical for most drivers.
While 49% of Americans under 40 think electric cars today are practical for most drivers, only 21% of those ages 40-64 and 18% of those 65 and older agree. Americans under 40 are much more likely than their elders to say higher gas prices have made them more interested in buying an electric car.
Unmarried Americans are more likely than their married counterparts to say the recent rise in gasoline prices has made them more interested in buying an electric car.
More government employees (44%) than private sector workers (36%) believe electric cars today are practical for most drivers.
Americans with annual incomes of $200,000 or more are the only category in which a majority (61%) say it’s at least somewhat likely their next automobile purchase will be an electric car.
Considerations of practicality seem to be a major factor in whether drivers are interested in buying electric cars. Among Americans who believe electric cars today are practical for most drivers, 79% say it’s at least somewhat likely an electric car will be their next automobile purchase. By contrast, among Americans who don’t think electric cars today are practical for most drivers, only 15% say it’s likely their next automobile purchase will be an electric car.
Soaring fuel prices have caused a majority of Americans to drive less and reduce spending in other areas of their household budgets.
President Joe Biden’s policies have increased inflation, according to a majority of voters, who expect the issue to be important in November midterm elections.
New Oil Related Billboard Erected in Times Square
Andreas Exarheas, Rigzone, March 22, 2022
The Job Creators Network (JCN) has revealed that a new billboard related to the U.S. oil and gas sector has been erected in the heart of Times Square.
The billboard features an image of Biden holding his forehead next to a chart tracking the price of a gallon of gas since October 2020. Arrows point to the date Biden took office and when the Russian invasion of Ukraine started and include the message, “Hey Joe! A picture is worth a thousand words. Drill more. Pay less.”
In a statement accompanying the billboard release, the JCN highlighted that Biden has been blaming rising prices on “Putin’s price hike”. The JCN notes, however, that gas prices have been rising steadily since Biden took office “because Biden is restricting domestic energy production”.
“President Biden is the reason gas prices are rising and he refuses to take responsibility for it,” Alfredo Ortiz, JCN President and CEO, said in the JNC statement accompanying the billboard release.
“Gas prices were rising long before Russia’s invasion, as our billboard points out. We support the ban on Russian oil but it’s only the first of two necessary steps. The second step is increasing domestic energy production,” Ortiz added in the statement.
“Small businesses and consumers are paying the price for Biden’s failures – literally. Remember that the next time you fill up your gas tank,” Ortiz went on to say.
The JCN billboard is the third such billboard to be placed in Times Square this month. Earlier in March, the JCN erected a billboard calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to reject oil from foreign countries and produce it domestically. On March 1, the JCN also placed a billboard in Times Square calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to say “nyet” to Russian oil.
As of March 22, the U.S. average regular gasoline price stood at $4.24, according to the AAA’s website. Yesterday’s average stood at $4.25, the week ago average stood at $4.31 and the month ago average stood at $3.53, AAA’s website shows. The year ago, regular gas price average stood at $2.88, AAA’s site outlines. The highest recorded average regular gas price stands at $4.33, which was recorded on March 11, 2022, AAA’s site shows.
A Quinnipiac University national poll of adults released last week found that nearly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) say the price of gasoline has been either a very serious problem (37 percent) or a somewhat serious problem (27 percent) for them and their family.
In a White House press briefing on March 16, Press Secretary Jen Psaki outlined that Americans deserve relief at the pump, and fast, as oil prices fall.
19 states appeal FERC natural gas policies
Miranda Wilson, Energywire, March 22, 2022
The “Commission cannot wield jurisdiction over activities such as upstream development of natural gas wells or downstream combustion of natural gas by utilities or end-users, all of which exceeds the Commission’s authority,” the appeal said.
Nineteen states are challenging two natural gas policies recently established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, arguing that the changes infringe on states’ rights to pursue the energy resources of their choice.
Led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), the states appealed FERC policies last week that they say prioritize concerns about climate change over the commission’s obligation to ensure energy is reliable and available at a reasonable cost.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia joined Louisiana in signing on to the request for rehearing. Texas also filed a similar request of its own.
All proposed natural gas pipelines and export facilities will be subject to the new policies, inflicting “major new costs and uncertainties” for project developers and potentially depriving states of tax revenue from the projects, the states charged. Some of the signatories produce significant volumes of oil and gas.
“The impact of these Rules cannot be overstated,” the states said in their appeal.
FERC’s Democratic commissioners approved changes to the commission’s processes last month for reviewing proposed natural gas projects, adding new consideration for facilities’ greenhouse gas emissions, conflicts with nearby landowners and effects on historically disadvantaged groups (Energywire, Feb. 18).
One of the “policy statements” issued by FERC concerning greenhouse gas emissions includes a first-ever framework by which the agency will assess whether new pipelines and gas export terminals would have a significant effect on the climate. It states that FERC will consider, effective immediately, the climate-warming emissions that would be released from the construction and operation of the proposed gas project.
The commission “may” also assess whether approving the project would increase greenhouse gas emissions indirectly, such as through more natural gas production or the eventual burning of more gas, according to the agency.
But those “indirect” emissions fall outside the jurisdiction of FERC, which is charged with overseeing interstate natural gas pipelines and other major energy infrastructure projects, the states said. By contrast, states have jurisdiction over the types of energy they consume and produce, they said.
“[The] Commission cannot wield jurisdiction over activities such as upstream development of natural gas wells or downstream combustion of natural gas by utilities or end-users, all of which exceeds the Commission’s authority,” the appeal said.
FERC declined to comment on the appeal. But commission Chair Richard Glick, a Democrat who supported the new policies, has said the agency must analyze projects’ greenhouse gas emissions, often citing various court rulings.
Earlier this month, for example, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found FERC was obligated to quantify and consider the downstream carbon emissions of a natural gas expansion project in Massachusetts, or explain why it could not do so (Energywire, March 14).
Other D.C. Circuit rulings have similarly called on FERC to assess the climate change impacts of various pipelines and LNG terminals.
Glick has said the policy changes will help ensure that permits issued by FERC are “legally durable” and that new gas projects serve the public interest.
Still, he has also signaled an openness to clarifying the new policies, which are intended to serve as guidelines rather than rules. The commission is expected to issue two decisions at its meeting this week that may modify or clarify aspects of the new policies, according to the meeting agenda.
“There’s always work to be done, because the proof will be in the pudding,” he said this month at the CERAWeek by S&P Global energy conference in Houston.
U.S. company devises method to use coal waste to power crypto
Reuters, March 21, 2022
The vast amounts of electricity needed to mine bitcoin has ignited a debate about whether the energy behind the operation is worth the potential environmental costs.
But one company in western Pennsylvania believes that they have found a way to put crypto mining to work to clean up their community.
Stronghold Digital Mining (SDIG.O) uses waste left behind by decades-old coal power plants to generate electricity that powers hundreds of supercomputers working to mine bitcoin.
Bitcoin, the world’s largest peer-to-peer digital currency, is issued through a process called mining, which requires computers to solve complex puzzles in exchange for the virtual currency. Powering those computers involves large amounts of electricity – in fact, more electricity is used annually to create bitcoin than is used in the entire country of Finland.
“The bitcoin mining network itself is the largest decentralized computer network in the world, and it’s power hungry, so co-locating bitcoin mining and a power plant makes a lot of sense,” said Greg Beard, chief executive officer of Stronghold.
Coal ash, the byproduct left over from burning coal to produce electricity, can leach into groundwater and pollute waterways, and contains heavy metals considered to be carcinogens.
Stronghold collects coal ash from a nearby mine and processes it at a waste coal processing facility. After the coal ash is sorted and crushed, it goes to a boiler building where it is burned to generate the electricity to power the company’s bitcoin mining operation.
“I think this is a perfect niche for crypto,” said Bill Spence, co-chairman of Stronghold Digital Mining.
House Passes Bill Supporting Oil & Gas leasing And Development Within The NPR-A
Anthony Moore, KSRM, March 21, 2022
The Alaska House of Representatives passed House Joint Resolution 34, which would support oil and gas leasing development within the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. The bill, which passed unanimously, urges the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, to take into account the long history of responsible oil and gas development on the North Slope region and the benefits would bring to local communities, tribal governments, the state, and the nation. The Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, and the North Slope Borough all are united in opposition to the Interior’s decision to reverse the 2020 NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan, which was developed in consultation with the North Slope tribes and the Alaska Native corporations.
That NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan included in it provisions that would have ensured future economic development opportunities for the North Slope region, allowed for community infrastructure needs to be considered in the NPR-A, and required that areas identified by local and Alaska Native entities be excluded from future leasing.
Rep. Josiah Patkotak (Utqiagvik) said:
“We walk a fine line and that is striking a balance between our cultural and subsistence resources that we’ve lived on for thousands of years that I currently live on, and I do the best to teach my kids to live on. The other side of that balance is the fact that we live in a cash economy. Flushing my toilet isn’t going to come free. Oil and gas development, though we’ve had our concerns with it, and have, I think through the processes, found ways to mitigate our concerns, at the end of the day, what it does is it allows us to have a microeconomy in rural Alaska, which is something we should all strive for across the state. I hear a lot of debate about ways that we can help rural Alaska. This is one of those ways.”
“The role that Alaska Native Corporations play and what they mean to my area and what they mean to the state as far as bolstering the economy and then the other aspect, obviously, was the local taxing authority that we have up there that allows us to pay for water and sewer infrastructure, schools, clinics, roads, everything that we debate about here on the floor as far as the capital budget, we like to take care of at home.”
The 2020 NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan and Environmental Impact Statement estimates potential annual government revenue, including local, state, and federal taxes and royalties, of between $730 million to $4.75 billion from oil and gas development in the NPR-A, which would result in 3,600 direct jobs and 2,750 indirect jobs annually over a period of 30 years.
The bill now heads to the Alaska State Senate.