Old enough to remember the gasoline shortage? Maybe a new angle on a fuel shortage is coming up.

Lithium. It is the stuff of batteries in cars, cell phones … and the race is on between China, the country that controls two-thirds of the industry, and the U.S., which controls 13 percent of the lithium cell production capacity according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report.

It is an industry that will likely grow fast. Bloomberg isn’t alone recognizing the potential problem. Tesla said that there could be a strain on several minerals essential to electric vehicles, including lithium. “Battery demand expected to boom as EVs become economic and electrification accelerates,” says consulting company, McKinsey

North Carolina has been big in lithium: The Charlotte Observer wrote about a new company called Piedmont Lithium recently: “Piedmont plans to extract lithium from mineral deposits in Gaston County, 25 miles west of Charlotte, in what geologists call the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt. Mines in the belt supplied most of the world’s lithium from the 1950s through the 1980s, before producers turned to cheaper deposits in South America and Australia.”

Albemarle Corp. is HQ’d in Charlotte and is a major player in the lithium market, so there is that local angle on the story. The company has a good “Lithium 101” lesson on its website.

At one time people said the world would run out of petroleum before now. Then there was an oil glut and prices dropped.

Same thing for lithium? Some predict a strain on supply; others don’t see any issue.