Over Tuesday’s trading, something remarkable happened. Electric car maker Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) reached all-time highs, ending the day at $1,079.81 per share with a market cap of $200.278 billion. This allowed the young company to surpass one of the market’s largest oil firms: the juggernaut known as Exxon Mobil Corp.
In a way, Tesla’s milestone marked what could very well be a huge symbolic victory for renewables, as it highlighted the world’s apparent embrace of sustainability and its impending departure from fossil fuels. This is especially poignant considering that Exxon is currently reeling from what could very well be the worst crude price crash in history. As of yesterday, Exxon’s market cap stood at $189.185 billion.
Exxon is no joke at all, being the largest oil company in the Western Hemisphere. It also has a storied history, being an offshoot of Standard Oil New York and Standard Oil New Jersey, which were, in turn, rooted in Standard Oil, the dominating force of US energy in the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. Even with its recent decline, Exxon is still the world’s second biggest energy company after Saudi Aramco went public last year.
Tesla’s latest milestone is notable, especially considering that the last time an automaker was worth more than Exxon was decades ago. As observed by Tesla community member Eric Dehais, it was over four decades since the oil giant trailed an American carmaker, with Exxon coming in second to General Motors in 1974. Interestingly enough, Tesla’s market cap today is worth several times that of GM’s.
This shift, if anything, highlights what could be described as a “Tesla Effect” in the market. In a previous interview with CNBC, Paul Sankey of Mizuho Securities mentioned that a “Tesla Effect” of sorts is beginning to make its way to the oil industry. Sankey noted that the Tesla Effect becomes prominent as fossil fuel companies are seeing a decline.
“Essentially, the big issue is the so-called ‘Tesla Effect,’ the general ‘End of the Oil Age’ theme that is a problem for these (oil) stocks. As the oil price goes up, especially to the levels we’re at now and potentially beyond, it’s almost as if the Tesla Effect could be exacerbated by the potential for higher oil prices to accelerate the end of the Oil Age. The Tesla Effect is the overall concept that (while) the 20th century was driven by oil, the 21st century will be driven by electricity,” the analyst said.
With Tesla passing Exxon Mobil, it appears that the “Tesla Effect” is still going strong.
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.