As arrests in Saudi Arabia continue to mount putting pressure on oil exports, hybrid electric technology drives its way into the heavey-duty trucking industry. Discussions over electric car tax credits and federal fuel tax increases take place in both state and federal governing bodies.
Anti-Corruption Arrests in Saudi Arabia Maintain Higher Prices for Crude Oil and Diesel
More than 200 people – including multiple members of the royal family and high profile businessmen – have been detained over the past week in Saudi Arabia in a large-scale crackdown on corruption. Saudi officials believe over $100 billion has been misused through systematic corruption spanning multiple decades. Details of specific charges or the legal process to handle the detainees are still unknown. Arrests were led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne. Critics of the arrests believe that this week’s events are meant to consolidate power under bin Salman, as many in the royal family are not aligned to the young heir’s position of power and vision of liberal reforms in a kingdom built on tradition.
Global oil and refined products markets surged to start the week and maintained strength through Friday on news of the arrests (WTI and Brent crude oil broke $57/brl and $64/brl, respectively, for the first time since June 2015). Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter, and the uncertainty that the arrests brings creates premiums in the current energy market. However, the longer term impact to energy markets is unclear.
Nikola Motor Co. Continues Move Towards Heavy-Duty Hybrid Electric Truck
Nikola has added PowerCell AB as a primary supplier for fuel cell technology of their Nikola One, a hydrogen-electric truck that is slated for full production in 2021. PowerCell AB’s technology will be installed into test vehicles that will hit the road in 2018, with the intention of moving into the full production line if all goes well in testing. Nikola Motor Co. is expected to announce a secondary fuel cell technology supplier to backup PowerCell AB in 2018.
Additionally, Nikola Motor Co. added two executives to their leadership team in Scott Perry as Chief Operating Officer and Kim Brady as Chief Financial Officer. Perry brings a strong transportation background with over 25 years experience at Ryder System Inc., most recently serving as chief technology and procurement officer for fleet management solutions. Brady’s background in investment banking and private equity will fortify the longer term financial picture of the company. Brady most recently worked as a senior managing director at SOLIC Capital Advisors LLC.
In Other News
In a letter to House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, longtime Ford Motor Co. lobbyist Ziad Ojakli thanked the Texas Republican for his work to advance tax reform, especially slashing the corporate tax rate… Absent from the letter? Any mention of the $7,500 tax credit for purchasers of electric cars, something the tax legislation Brady is shepherding would eliminate.
In the early days of trailer tracking, companies were simply looking for missing trailers. But technology has advanced, and trailer tracking is trying to keep pace. Now, the data generated by trailers can rival that of tractors, and properly managing that data could generate more revenue potential for carriers than ever before.
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) stated it believes a federal fuel tax increase is the best option for paying for a large-scale, national infrastructure program. The ATRI’s report is supported by the American Trucking Association. The federal fuel tax has not increased in over 20 years.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 9 issued a proposed rule to repeal the Obama administration’s Medium- and Heavy-Duty Truck Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emission and Fuel Efficiency Standards for the glider industry.
U.S.-based startup Nikola Motor Co. has named Bosch and PowerCell AB as the primary suppliers of fuel cells for the Nikola Class 8 hydrogen-electric truck. The company has also announced field testing plans and appointed two new executives to its team, including former Ryder System exec Scott Perry.