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Under pressure from governments around the world, automobile manufacturers are envisioning and planning for a future dominated by electric powered vehicles.  In 2017, electric car sales increased by 30%, to 200,000 vehicles. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that 54% of new car sales will be electric by 2040. 

Electric cars are viewed by the public as cleaner than gas powered cars. And those who single out hydrocarbons as a main player in global warming are applauding the movement away from gas powered engines. Yet, the electricity has to come from somewhere. In today’s world that means coal, nuclear, natural gas or renewables. Coal is dirtier than natural gas, and more expensive. Nuclear plants are shutting down and, while renewables are making significant strides, there is no current ability to store the electricity produced by renewables so as to supply a reliable base load of electricity necessary for an electric utility company. That leaves natural gas. Natural gas is a hydrocarbon, but one substantially cleaner than coal.  

There is a certain irony in all of this; many advocates of electric vehicles are also strong opponents of “fracking.” But without cheap, abundant natural gas produced in the Appalachian Basin, in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the switch to electric vehicles would be costlier and less friendly to the environment. And it would not be occurring so quickly. Ohio’s natural gas production, alone, reached 5.5 billion cubic feet per day in October of 2017, doubling the output in May of 2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And there are nine gas fired plants either under construction or in development in the state. The booming production of shale gas is making the switch over to electric vehicles less expensive and more environmentally friendly, which is in the common interest of environmentalists, electric car manufacturers and natural gas producers.