Fuel Efficiency Reigns As Gas Prices Fall

Ethical Markets Trendspotting

By Jeff Siegel | Tuesday, October 21st, 2008
As gas prices tumble, some investors are beginning to question whether or not the momentum behind fuel-efficient vehicle production can remain strong. After all, at $2.00 a gallon, how many folks would really be willing to shell out an extra $10,000 or so for better fuel economy?

So are these latest gas prices (which could stay this low for a while, as the economy sputters along, and short-term demand wanes) going to put the kibosh on fuel efficiency?
Not a chance.

In fact, last week the auto club, AAA, reported that even with gas prices falling, drivers say they’re still sticking to their new fuel-efficient ways. And the auto makers continue to tout their new fuel efficient, hybrid and electric vehicle line-ups for 2009/2010.

Depletion Determines Demand

Certainly you’ve heard enough about the Chevy Volt. And a few weeks ago, we told you about Chrysler’s new electric vehicles. Don’t forget Honda’s latest Insight hybrid too. The company has stated that the vehicle will be priced below $20,000.

My friends, we wouldn’t be seeing one bit of this if there wasn’t a very real demand being instigated by a very real oil crisis.

Sure, oil prices have fallen. But you better believe this is not a trend that can sustain itself.

No matter how you slice it, the rapid depletion of oil has not stopped.

Gasoline prices have not fallen because a wealth of new easy oil has been discovered. In fact, most peak oil experts agree that the peak of oil production is now between two and five years.

And as we’ve said dozens of times before – this is a global issue.

So certainly, the solution is global as well.

Global Hybrid Electric Vehicles

In France, Nicolas Sarkozy has just pledged 400 million euros ($549 million) to support the development of hybrid and electric vehicles. At the same time, the CEO of the Renault Nissan Alliance signed on to create an organization to install and manage infrastructure for charging electric vehicles. This is the same group that announced it will launch sales of zero-emission vehicles in France in 2011.

The EDF Group (Europe’s leading electricity producer and owner of the world’s biggest fleet of electric vehicles) and PSA Peugeot Citroen are also supporting the development and marketing of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and electric vehicles.

And last week we got word that a new PHEV in China is expected to go into production next month. This one delivers an all-electric 62-mile range – with a price tag of just $22,000.

China has actually been quite proactive when it comes to PHEV development. The country launched an initiative in 2007 to encourage electric vehicle R&D at the university and corporate level. Government officials have also proposed supporting the development of charging stations.

Our international team is actually working on a new report about the latest in PHEV development in China – including a few possible opportunities for investors. That report should be ready for you to download by next week.

To a new way of life, and a new generation of wealth…