UNITED STATES (LOS ANGELES)- Ford will begin reducing its usage of rare earth metals in new vehicles.The rare earth metals are primarily used in the lithium-ion batteries used to power hybrid vehicles. Rare earths are primarily used in hybrid and electric vehicles, and as these vehicles take up a greater share of the market, the price of rare earth metals is likely to increase. The Chinese have an effective monopoly on rare earth metals and are able to control the price of the commodity. However, a rare earth mine in California is likely to begin production in the near future.
Comment: Use of rare earth metals in consumer goods is virtually certain to increase in the future. It is possible that rare earths could be used much in the same way oil is used to effectively control Western foreign policy towards producing countries. This action could dampen the already tepid American economy.