Hidden deep down in a story written by the Houston Chronicle about Rice Business School students visiting Warren Buffett, there is a startling prediction by the Oracle of Omaha.
Jan Goetgeluk, president of the business school’s Finance Club, asked what Buffett thought of the peak oil theory.
Reports the Houston Chronicle, to the dismay of the many oilmen amongst its readers: “Buffett told him that in 20 years, he believes all the cars on the road will be electric. He’s already invested in a Chinese company working on the technology to make it happen.”
That company of course is BYD, the Chinese automaker in which Berkshire Hathaway owns 10 percent, so Warren might be driven by a bit of self-interest. A BYD car, the F3, has been a chart topper in China. However, it is powered by a conventional ICE.
Gurufocus.com, the website that follows Warren Buffett to a degree that borders on stalking, says Buffett’s prediction “explains another reason why Burlington Northern Santa Fe would be attractive to Buffett.” Nah, it’s not because people will take the train.
“All those electric cars will need to be recharged,” says Gurufocus, “and the electricity that will enable that will be mostly created by coal, at least for the foreseeable future. Burlington’s tracks run right through the coal-rich Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming, meaning BNSF will be hauling coal to meet the nation’s increased electrical needs.”
Still, Buffett may be engaged in a little hedging. He recently plunked down $100m on Exxon Mobile. Gurufocus has an explanation for that: “Exxon does much more than produce oil.”