A Free-Market Energy Blog

EVs Not: Letters to the Editor, in the Houston Chronicle

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 29, 2024

The editorial pages of the Houston Chronicle, as well as news reports, did what they could to hype the “energy transition” before, during, and after CERAWeek. Chronicle business editorialist, the conflicted Chris Tomlinson, was particularly egregious in this regard. But just a bit of balance was achieved in the letters section, where an op-ed by Randall Morton, “Houston is making a losing bet on fossil fuels (Opinion),” (March 18), previously examined at MasterResource, received three rebuttals.

The letters follow:

Jim Lloyd, Lakewood, Colo.: Randall Morton painted a very grim picture for the future economics of Houston because of a lower demand for fossil fuels. Morton failed to account for several issues related to the principles of supply and demand. He simply needs to drive in the congested traffic of every large city. Millions of fossil-fueled cars are stuck bumper to bumper. These cars have a practical lifetime well past 2030.

The politically driven transition to electric vehicles will not be popular with drivers, many of whom will be willing to extend the life of their fossil-fueled cars to avoid buying an EV. Drivers like to occasionally drive long distances and do not like the anxiety of worrying about the life of an EV battery. The demand for fossil fuels will extend well into the future and the supply provided by the Houston economy will have to meet that demand.

There is hardly any demand for EVs: just look at the auto dealers’ inventory and the losses felt by EV manufacturers. In places such as California, supply is artificially high because of environmental mandates for EV sales. The other issue is the high demand for the materials needed to make the batteries, and the very limited supply of raw materials. Following supply and demand principles, the cost of batteries will skyrocket as material supplies don’t meet demand.

All of these factors will make the future of fossil fuel economies, such as Houston’s, flourish.

Joel Mohrman, Houston: Randall Morton’s op-ed urging Houston to abandon the fossil fuel industry and become a “New Energy Capital” misleads the reader. Morton claims the end of the age of fossil fuels is near, but is very vague on what will replace them.

He warns that Houston will end up like Detroit, seemingly unaware that Detroit did not fail because cars were no longer being bought. Detroit failed for many reasons, including because its government was awful.

The expense and lack of electric vehicle capability captures the problem of the green economy overall. Green power sources are more expensive and generally work less well than the systems they replace. Morton’s claim that renewables are cheaper is another sleight of hand. The cited figures do not include the costs of overbuilding and having backup systems (usually gas turbines) to solve the intermittency problem of renewables. You can’t run a modern economy only when the sun is out or when the wind blows.

We would not need subsidies and billion-dollar government giveaways if green energy and EVs were cheaper and better. Simply because something is new does not mean it’s better.

And in fact, these products aren’t new. Windmills have powered production since the 7th century and electric cars have been tried and rejected since the beginning of the [20th] century. Given poor green economics, it’s hard to understand green boosterism.

Perhaps Upton Sinclair had the answer. He said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary is dependent on his not understanding it.” Morton and other green apologists are not shooting straight with us.

Barbara Goodson, Kingwood: Regarding “Oil and gas,” (March 19): Thumbs up to Raymond Martin for pointing out the obvious in his rebuttal letter to Randall Morton’s op-ed. Kudos to the Chronicle for printing the facts. He points out that unless our society would like to return to the 1800s lifestyle, there is no current substitute on the market that can replace the continued need for petroleum products derived from oil and gas.

My husband still enjoys watching “Gunsmoke,” but we don’t want to live like that.

Final Comment

I used to be an op-ed contributor at the Houston Chronicle [1] until the paper went from Left to Progressive Left. I no longer even try to submit articles but have gotten some letters published (and other letters not published.) I do my part, however, by exposing the conflict-of-interest of editorialist Chris Tomlinson, a fossil-fuel hater, meat-hater, and Republican hater. Every little bit counts ….


[1] Some past editorials were:

  • “ExxonMobil on Right Path” (June 14, 2009)
  • “Climate-Change Alarmism Runs into a Reality Check” (January 9, 2009)
  • “False Alarms and Climate Change” (March 30, 2008)
  • “Al Gore’s Telling Whoppers Again” (June 4, 2006)
  • “Shoppers: There is a Bright Side to Rising Gas Prices” (April 18, 2002)
  • “President is Correct to Ignore Climate Alarmists” (May 14, 2001)
  • “Fear Not: The Energy Malthusians Are Wrong” ( April 21, 2000)


  1. John W. Garrett  

    The bureaucrat’s mission in life is to regulate.

    “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
    -Ronald Wilson Reagan


  2. rbradley  

    Another LTE in today’s Houston Chronicle (April 2) of note:

    Serious green discussion

    Regarding “Endangered hawk could topple plans for wind farm,” (March 31): This piece highlights that the effort to advance wind farm production is a continuing threat to migratory birds and most likely other animals as well. Humorously buried in the article is a reference to the classic liberal NIMBY concerns, by Washington residents, of potentially ruined cocktail-hour scenic views and lowering property values. Where are the same environmentalist concerns about West Texas views and values?

    How about a serious green discussion about environmental concerns when these massive wind turbines are moved offshore? What impact will the 9-footby-60-foot footings, requiring 300 cubic yards of concrete, have on the fragile ocean floor ecosystem? Who will speak out for threatened oceanic creatures?

    Edward A. Vesely, Houston


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