Editor's note: There's a lot of news about electric vehicles these days, and we're featuring it on the CoServ Blog every week. If you are a CoServ Member or Customer with questions about EVs, please contact us at EV@coserv.com.
By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ
COVID-19 has decimated the oil and gas industry people drive and travel less worldwide. As of October, Texas had about 150,000 people in the industry, the Houston Chronicle reported, and the Texas oil and gas sector has lost nearly 30 percent of its jobs since the pandemic began.
Looking to the future, this critical part of the state's economy sees a Biden presidency and lawmakers, corporations and automakers pledging to reduce reliance on fossil fuels while electrifying more of their fleet. Even with the promise of the COVID-19 vaccine increasing demand for oil again, the future looks bleak.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Despite Texas’ reputation as a fossil fuel capitol, the state is quickly emerging as a job hub for the electric vehicle industry. And many of the skills and expertise found in the oil and gas industry can transition to the burgeoning EV industry, the Houston Chronicle reported.
There are already 7,000 Texans employed in the EV sector today. That’s before Tesla’s Gigafactory under construction near Austin adds another 5,000 jobs next year.
A report by Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance estimated that there are 30,000 Texans who worked in industries with skill sets needed for the EV industry that have “lost jobs in recent years.”
These are well-paying jobs that could be a new beginning for those who have faced difficult times in the oil and gas industry.
Still, working for the very thing that contributed to the demise of your previous profession will be a bitter pill for some to swallow.
This is hardly anything new, though.
Throughout time, jobs have been phased out, replaced or rendered obsolete through advancements in technology. Think of blacksmiths who shoed the horses or the workers who used a wrench to tighten bolts on an assembly line.
Or, more recently, the classified advertisements that used to fill print newspapers in the days before Craig’s List and Facebook Marketplace. Remember the old film development or video rental sections that used to be inside grocery stores?
Fossil-fuel related jobs won’t disappear like Blockbuster Video but they will become fewer in this new reality that’s coming.
Texas is positioned to absorb these jobs in the EV sector if it continues to play its cards right.
“Businesses need supportive policies at all levels of government to ensure the EV transition takes hold at the scale and speed necessary to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis,” said Alli Gold Roberts, director of state policy at Ceres, the nonprofit leading the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance.
As EV News & Notes reported last month, the Texas Legislature’s 2021 session will have several key decisions to make regarding electric vehicles. Tesla will likely fight for a carve-out so it can sell its vehicles directly to the public without having to jump through hoops. And EV lobbyists will want to avoid paying extra registration fees.
Having more charging stations and support from power regulators will also be key, the Chronicle reported.