A Free-Market Energy Blog

Elon Musk’s Tesla: Rigged Markets for Failing EVs

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 24, 2016

“Tesla is redefining ‘too big to fail’ as ‘politically correct, so bail’.”

I publish a monthly post at Forbes.com, Political Energy. My fellow scholars Michael Lynch and Alex Epstein also have columns at Forbes. All of our contributions offer the energy community and policy makers an alternative to the current government energy planning mentality.

My most recent post, “Investors Confront Tesla’s Energy Fantasy,” has just been published.  Some quotations follow:

“Musk’s various ventures have received almost $5 billion worth of government assistance. Nevada recently chimed in with $1.3 billion to incentivize Tesla to build its “gigafactory” — a new battery producing facility — near Reno.”

“Each car sold by Tesla receives a federal income tax credit of $7,500. And California allows an additional $2,500 rebate to its citizens.”

“Elon Musk retorts that his subsidies pale in comparison to those given to the oil and gas companies. But Tesla’s cronyism to date exceeds what the entire oil and gas industry receives in a year (about $4 billion).”

“Bad entrepreneurship is normally punished by market losses and contraction. But Musk’s market is rigged. A mountain of taxpayer subsidies is allowing Tesla’s bad show to go on — and even expand.”

“There is no real market failure at the pump, just an imaginary one in the minds of an energy intelligentsia. Gasoline and diesel fuels are affordable, convenient, and reliable by any measure.”

“And just last month, U.S. consumers pumped a record 9.7 million barrels of gasoline per day, a 2.4% increase from last year…. Peak demand, like peak oil, is an exaggerated notion from those who want to use government intervention to keep oil in the ground.”

“Compared to 1970 vehicle models, today’s new cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and heavy-duty trucks are 99% cleaner in terms of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle emissions. Sulfur in gasoline has been reduced by 90%, and sulfur in diesel fuel has been reduced by 99%.”

“EVs … are really EEVs, as in emission elsewhere vehicles, a term popularized by Amory Lovins back in the 1990s. So-called zero-emission vehicles reflect the fuel-profile of electricity generation. 2015 U.S. electricity generation consisted of 33% coal; 33% natural gas; 20% nuclear; 13% renewables; and 1% oil.”

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