Skip to content

Subsidies for the Energy Industry

© Ruben Bolling

Conservatives somehow think that loan guarantees for green energy is a bad idea, while directly subsidizing oil companies makes good sense.



  1. Jeff wrote:

    Oil has been around for decades. They’re influence is deeply entrenched in Washington. They have more money, more experience, and more power than green energy right now. It’s likely why there haven’t been more innovations in purely electrical vehicles. electric cars have been around for over 100 years, and yet we’re still struggling to see them develop into a viable option for most consumers. I think it’s probably due to the intervention of big oil that the technology is not developing faster.

    Monday, September 19, 2011 at 4:46 am | Permalink
  2. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Drinking the conspiracy elixir again are we. I do however understand and somewhat agree with the energy subsidies opposition. Our government subsidizes many other industry’s with farming coming to mind as well. I believe it might not be bad thing either. It keeps consumer costs down, albeit artificailly, but benefits all. All corporations are beholding to investers, not the government or citizens so doing away with say big oil sudsidies could spur energy costs to soar. Gas prices in other parts of the world have been higher then ours for a while. I also think we should continue to invest in green technology, but we could provide incentives for private investors, like a Buffet, to put up a bigger share. That in turns creates a loophole somewhere that some group will complain about. So it’s not so easy to pick the right path.
    If there was money to be made currently in green energy why aren’t the big hitters like Buffet, Gates, Koch Brothers all in. They probably know that the technology is not there yet and profitability is still off in the future. If there was money to be made, they’d be all over it. For instance, if Solar was the end all for energy savings, why don’t the greedy, profit driven corps all have their own solar farms on their building, ground and warehouse roofs, freeing them from the electric company purse strings? If there were savings I believe they’d be all over it, consumers too for that matter.
    I just don’t think it’s that easy and it’s alot more complicated then most perceive.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 8:15 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    No, it is actually quite simple. Two factors: first of all the whole point of the comic is that we heavily subsidize the oil industry and the resulting artificially low price for gasoline makes it difficult (if not impossible) for new technologies to compete. Second of all, there is always a (big) cost to change technologies. We have a HUGE infrastructure for the oil industry — automobiles built to use gas, a huge network of filling stations, mechanics who know how to fix gas engines, oil tankers and pipelines, and on and on. Changing this infrastructure is expensive and difficult, so it suppresses new technology. If we had to pay the true cost of oil — INCLUDING the cost of the wars we fight for it, the indirect cost of pollution caused by it, etc. then solar energy would be far cheaper now. The technology would happen. Trust me.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 8:58 am | Permalink
  4. starluna wrote:

    I don’t get the last part about invading Mexico.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink
  5. starluna wrote:

    I do believe that a few of Buffet’s investments are in green energy. I recall hearing him say that in an interview once. Gates doesn’t run investments like this. His money goes primarily to charitable works in education and biotech investments (like malaria and AIDS vaccines). I don’t know about the Koch Brothers.

    Besides the big corporations are already investing in green energy. This includes the big oil companies. But the profits flow from oil at the moment. Once that changes, many of them are already poised to take advantage of a new green economy. That’s the frustrating part. We could do more now, but the subsidies that make oil profitable prevent anymore being done. It is kind of complicated, but only from a technical perspective. The true complication has to do with politics, both local and national.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  6. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Ah yes IK, simple. Thats why I chose the word easy. The domino effect from casting off cheap gas runs deep. We need a long term energy vision that transitions to the new vs amputating us from one and strapping on another. Thats what the difficult part is. Perhaps a gradual phasing out of the oil subsidies is one way to go, but I think an abrupt change would cause more damage then good.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink