Nor-way To Go!

Electric cars don’t merely function in frigid Norway… Norway has about the highest EV adoption rate of any country, haters.  Tesla has now rewarded their market with the first European sales of the Model S, and the first non-US Superchargers (in Aurland, Cinderella, Dombås, Gol, Lillehammer, and Lyngdal).

So, what’s the deal?  Why Norway, especially considering it’s an oil-exporting nation?  Well, let’s see, there’s the urbanized population, tax incentives and waived tolls, abundant hydroelectricity, and, oh yeah… the fact that Norwegians (at least as a nation) aren’t stupid.  What a lot of people don’t realize is that an entire world exists out there, a world of other customers.  If one then has oil, the smart thing to do isn’t to just light it up.  One should, instead, dupe others into lighting it up, in exchange for their hard currencies.  Norway is then flush with Euros, Pounds, Francs, etc.; are you then a dupe?

dhsNorway’s economy is doing just fine; Norway’s unemployment is about half ours.  Norway’s cars, then, increasingly operate on domestic hydropower, not fossil fuel.  This electricity is much more difficult to export (via high-purity, vulnerable cable) than oil (via boat or pipe), and would fetch a lower price even where it can go.  Note that Norwegian fuel prices are high, despite having indigenous sources; high demand from the many other countries bids it up.  This is true even before fuel taxes, so gas isn’t expensive due to “market interference”; it’s expensive due to the market itself.  Precious Norwegian fuel, then, is traded for lasting benefit, not for burning up briefly.  That’s as capitalist as it gets.

Don’t get high on your own supply… white stuff or black.  Copyright 1983 Universal

Let that be a lesson for the “Drill Here, Pay Less” dupes: macroeconomics exists, just like the international oil market.  The people who say ‘international trade and unregulated markets won’t fail’ then turn around and pretend our one, worldwide oil market won’t absorb any one country’s new production… exactly as standard macroeconomics and market theory predict.  OPEC exists because macroeconomics and an international market does, too.  And cartel members have little to gain as single countries, producing in the face of the rest of the world, too.

And yes, the United States seems to be getting the point, finally: US average vehicle MPG is up, while US average driver miles are down.  Driver miles started decreasing before the housing bubble and financial crash, and so far seem to be staying down after growth and housing have turned around.  No, it doesn’t appear to be due to the recession, since US society had been re-urbanizing anyway.  Teens in particular had been putting off their drivers’ licenses, and picking up smartphones.  In a survey, more Americans would be more upset at losing their internet access, versus losing their driving access.  Looks like we’re gaining smartphones and smart people, not dupes.

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