Today a colleague told me about a potential unintended consequence of the gradual adoption of electric cars. By the point a significant number of drivers stop buying gas, the economies of scale that we have in place right now will no longer apply, and price will rise. The problem is mostly wealthy people will own electric cars, and mostly poor people will be stuck with old combustion engines and unaffordable fuel.
Cars get old. Wealthier people can afford chasing the next shiny thing, so they move on to newer models. That increasingly creates a market for used electric cars. Prices drop with increased supply. That then triggers demand. And as this trend starts gaining momentum, the market grows exponentially. The same is true with the reverse. As the ICE market shrinks, the availability of models and parts also shrinks. That increases the prices. Higher prices lowers demand. Etc.
I think EVs will eventually be ubiquitous, following the process that you described. But there will also be a meantime when both exist. During that time, prices of ICEs will drop. Eventually ICEs will become a relic of the past, and prices would rise again. But there is a lot of in-between while the transition is happening. If you can't afford even a used EV, you will be stuck with your ICE and expensive gas at least for a while. And you still need to go to work everyday.
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True. But this transition won't just be a either/or situation. As the EV market grows, so it will grow the available alternatives to cars (after all, EV stands for electrical *vehicles*). Some of those alternatives will be far cheaper to buy (used it new) than blowing all your money in the rising prices of your example. Besides, you also have to factor in the rising costs in maintaining an outdated technology.