Tesla Founder Says That Keeping Billions Of People Alive Is A “Dumb Experiment”

If we don’t find a solution to burning oil for transport, when we then run out of oil, the economy will collapse and society will come to an end,” Musk said this week during a conversation with astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson.

“If we know we have to get off oil no matter what, we know that is an inescapable outcome, why run this crazy experiment of changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere and oceans by adding enormous amounts of CO2 that have been buried since the Precambrian Era?” he added. “That’s crazy. That’s the dumbest experiment in history, by far.”

Tyson sounded surprised: “Can you think of a dumber experiment?” he asked Musk.

I honestly cannot. What good could possibly come of [staying on oil],” Musk said.

 Elon Musk: Burning Fossil Fuels Is the ‘Dumbest Experiment in History, By Far’ | Motherboard 

The implication of his statement is that modern civilization exists because of oil. Musk believes that keeping billions of people alive and preventing a collapse of the economy was/is a “dumb experiment” – because we have added 0.0001 mole fraction CO2 to the atmosphere, which he describes as a “huge amount.”

In other words, he wants to make $billions by scaring people into buying electric cars.

As far as his foray into geology goes – plants didn’t even evolve until much later than the Precambrian. Most oil and coal is extracted from Carboniferous Era formations.


We have vast amounts of oil and gas remaining. On days when alarmists aren’t crying about peak oil, they are crying about vast reserves of shale oil, coal and methane hydrates.

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65 Responses to Tesla Founder Says That Keeping Billions Of People Alive Is A “Dumb Experiment”

  1. gator69 says:

    Musk is either a dishonest salesman, or a CAGW religious zealot, or both…

    • Joseph says:

      Translation: Give my Solar City company more money so I can continue to pay prisoners ~90 cents an hour to assemble my solar panels while I turn a huge profit from slave labor and govt subsidies.

    • Isn’t he the twat who started the internet usury service paypal? & now he just skims from government grants & steals from gullible dimwits. What a shitbag.

      • Joseph says:

        I’m not sure about the paypal part, but without government subsidies (the three companies that I know of he’s involved with) SpaceX, Solar City, and Tesla would not exist today.

        • gator69 says:

          Musk was the co-founder of Paypal, and I use it for virtually all of my purchases online. I wish they had a comparable competitor, because a few years ago they forced me to accept a Paypal credit card in order to keep my account. I hate that card and have not found a way to stop it from being the default payment method. This means that every time I go to confirm a Paypal payment, I have to take extra steps to link the MasterCard I use for all of my purchases.

          It’s not enough that they make money on each purchase, they now want to force their crappy credit card on everyone.

        • NancyG says:


          Weird PayPal experience you have there. I don’t use credit cards, ever, got rid of them in 2000 and it was the best thing we ever did. My PayPal is linked directly to my checking account. If they were to force me to have their c/c they would lose my business.

        • gator69 says:

          I would never, ever link anyone but me to my checking account, not even my employer for direct deposit. Most people are unaware of the fact hat if your employer has access to your checking account for direct deposit purposes, they can also make withdrawals. It all depends upon your bank’s policies, and if I were you, I would check on this.

          I used to work for one of the largest banks in the US, and frequently had to deal with fraud issues. Once that money is gone from your account, 90% of the time it is not recoverable. Credit cards, like my MasterCard, actually will reimburse me for fraudulent purchases, and they pay me to use their card. In the 10+ years I have had my current card, I have never paid a fee or interest (I am what credit card companies call a ‘deadbeat’, believe it or not) and they have paid me over $600.

          Your checking account is the most vulnerable place for fraud and loss.

        • My PayPal is linked directly to my checking account.

          Yow, what was their initial offer? Your first-born child?

          When my wife picked up some work that payed via paypal, I had her use a mostly inactive account for deposits, & every dollar that can, gets removed from that account within 24 hours. I mean, even if paypal wasn’t a bunch of thieving scumbags, I’d still be worried about them letting Russian hackers have their way with my money.

          At least with a credit card, the worst that can happen is that you can’t pay the bill they send you.

        • gator69 says:

          I love my MasterCard! There have been about three different attempts by crooks to use it, once it was some a-hole in France who wanted a free gaming system, and last time it was some meth-head in West Virginia trying to buy a laptop at Walmart. Each time I was notified within 10 minutes of the attempted purchase. I had fun with the meth-head, I called the store manager at the Walmart in WV and ended up on the phone with the State Police, and an officer who was quite familiar with this woman. Apparently she had an inside accomplice at Walmart’s card processing center who was funneling good card numbers to her, and the cop could never get enough cooperation from victims to bust her. We told the Walmart manager to approve the sale and set up a time for in store pick-up. And pick-up they did!

        • Streetcred says:

          @gator @Nancy … I have my credit card linked for PP purchases for one very good reason. PP are notoriously poor in getting refunds for fraudulent or incomplete transactions … once notified, my credit card company just takes the money back and credits my account. Try that with your bank account 😉

        • Smokey says:

          Hi gator,

          I don’t understand. I’ve never used PayPal. When I pay for an online purchase, I get a window giving me the choice of using PayPal, or my credit card.

          I always use the credit card option. My computer fills in the info with one click, and that’s it — transaction complete. I’m curious as to why you don’t get the same choice.

          Folks: ALWAYS use a credit card! It puts a 3rd party between you and the seller, if there’s ever a dispute. And the credit card company tends to lean toward their client/customer. That’s you. PayPal might make the same promises, but I don’t think there is a federal law protecting you, like there is with a credit card (I’m not sure about debit cards, since I never use them).

          Finally, a tip: my credit union (Star One, but there are lots of others) gives me a free credit card. Zero annual fee. Very low interest. And they automatically deduct the monthly payment due each month from my savings or checking account, and pay it for me — on the last day before it’s due. That way, I collect Credit Union interest on my savings for the entire month, and I have never had to pay a penny in either credit card interest, or late fees. I have been with that Credit Union for almost forty years now. They are excellent; better than any bank.

          Good luck with your PayPal problems, gator. But for sure, there are better alternatives that are just as easy, if not easier and better.

        • gator69 says:

          My credit card pays me, there is no annual fee, and I have never paid interest.

          Some of the sellers with whom I do business only accept Paypal, so a credit card would not work. Plus, Paypal offers an added layer of protection against fraud.

    • omanuel says:

      gator69, Musk overlooked Nobel Laureate Francis William Aston’s promise to mankind, “powers beyond the dreams of scientific fiction,” in the last paragraph of his Nobel Lecture in 1922:

      “Mass spectra and isotopes,” Nobel Prize Lecture (12 December 1922): http://veksler.jinr.ru/becquerel/text/books/aston-lecture.pdf or

      Click to access aston-lecture.pdf

      • omanuel says:

        Perhaps Musk overlooked that animals are parasites on plants for food and fuel, except for the Vitamin D human animals make on exposure to sunlight and the other animals they consume as food.

  2. Musk is a complete fraud. I don’t mean just an intellectual fraud, I mean an actual, illegal, fraudulent scammer. A relentless liar who has lost billions yet has bamboozled regulators and investors into giving him billions more. He will end up in jail and googling his name you will find results like Teslagate, Enron and Madoff.

    In my blog I’ve covered his frauds the best I’ve been able to, and tomorrow I’ll upload a megapost compiling all evidence.

    As for his million-years gaffe, it doesn’t surprise me. Anyone following his remarks knows he’s got a problem with numbers.

  3. A C Osborn says:

    They seem to forget, that the CO2 they are talking about used to be in the Atmosphere and all using the Oil &Gas is doing is putting it back where it came from.

  4. Joseph says:

    He wants more government subsidies for his companies that would otherwise fail in the free market. This guy sounds like a total piece of garbage.

    For a guy who is – supposedly – as smart as he is he sure makes some dumbass comments.

  5. Snowleopard says:

    Reducing population seems to be the acknowledged but seldom mentioned goal.

    “A study published today in the journal Science found that government biofuel policies rely on reductions in food consumption to generate greenhouse gas savings.

    Shrinking the amount of food that people and livestock eat decreases the amount of carbon dioxide that they breathe out or excrete as waste. The reduction in food available for consumption, rather than any inherent fuel efficiency, drives the decline in carbon dioxide emissions in government models, the researchers found.”


    • Justa Joe says:

      You keep any AGW hoax promoter talking long enough and eventually they’ll let their population control agenda slip out. The AGW movement is a clever “re-branding” of the population control movement with the same loons at the helm.

  6. dmacleo says:

    his cars depend on oil for the plastics, composites, and electrical shielding they use that allow him to slam on oil.

    • gator69 says:

      At the time of writing, there are no other materials that could replace lithium, nor are battery systems in development that offer the same or better performance as lithium-ion at a comparable price. Rather than worrying about a lack of lithium, graphite, the anode material, could also be in short supply. A large EV battery uses about 25kg (55lb) of anode material. The process to make anode-grade graphite with 99.99 percent purity is expensive and produces much waste. With graphite, the cost goes into purification and recycling old Li-ion to retrieve graphite does not solve this sanitation.

      There is also a concern about pending shortages of rare earth materials should the EV replace the conventional car. One is permanent magnets for the electric motors. Permanent magnets are among the most energy efficient. China controls about 95 percent of the global market for rare earth metals and expects to use most of these resources for its own production. Exports of rare earth materials is tightly controlled for good reasons.


  7. Elon Musk Has Always Been Completely Open About Depending On Government Money – Business Insider
    Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity — that wouldn’t exist without government funding and support.
    “Elon Musk is addicted to government money!”

  8. Warren D. Walker says:

    “We have vast amounts of oil and gas remaining. On days when alarmists aren’t crying about peak oil, they are crying about vast reserves of shale oil, coal and methane hydrates”
    They have a LOT to cry about…….
    Recently – the Bakken shale oil field – 2.1 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil. Then (2013) Coober Pedy in Australia an est ranging from 3.5 billion to 233 billion barrels of oil. Now (Sep 2014) a huge oil and gas reserve discovered in the Kara Sea – comparable in size to Saudi Arabia’s vast onshore deposits.

  9. James Strom says:

    When we run out of fossil fuels we will run out very, very slowly, with price signals that allow us to adjust. Musk alternates between the very cogent and the unsupportable.

    • Kozlowsky says:

      Exactly. Allow the market system to work and prices will rise for oil as supplies dwindle. Other fuel sources will then become cost competitive and be brought to market.

      The world will not end, billions will not die.

      After begin wrong so many times, you would think that people would stop listening to the catastrophists and doomsdayers.

    • Mike D says:

      Yeah, the argument that we need to pay more now for alternatives, because fossil fuels might cost that much in the future makes no sense. There will be a point where the relative costs of fossil fuel sources and newer sources will converge for some purposes. But even then there’s no reason to do more than phase out of more expensive sources and build up the cheaper.

  10. darrylb says:

    I do agree with a tiny bit of that statement. Fossil fuels are finite and we have perhaps picked the lowest fruit of the fossil fuel tree, otherwise fracking etc would not be occurring.
    I will not say when we will begin to see shortages but the fossil fuels have been produced over eons of time and to date most of the consumption has. happened in the last century.
    Whether it is on Alaska’s North Shore or wherever, we will eventually go there.

    Fossil fuels give us stored energy. Most renewable s do not.
    Solution: Nuclear Power. But nuclear power cannot be used for all needs.

    Solution 2, and here I give credit to Gail Combs for her forward thinking.
    Eventually the brilliance of some individuals in a capitalistic society will be unleashed and
    the result will be the economically efficient production of the most useful fossil or similar fuels using nuclear energy. as the source of energy for the production.

    I do not see it as a possibility, I see it as being inevitable.

    • Neal S says:

      darrylb writes ” otherwise fracking etc would not be occurring.”

      The reason fracking is occuring is because skeeter cannot stop it. He has successfully done his best to stop all other forms of oil development in this country. There is lots more oil to be had more easily, if only our government would allow it.

    • gator69 says:

      History of ‘Peak Oil

      ( http://www.radford.edu/~wkovarik/oil/5oilreservehistory.html )

      • 1857 — Romania produces 2,000 barrels of oil, marking the beginning of the modern oil industry.

      • 1859, Aug. 25 — Edwin L. Drake strikes oil in Titusville, Pennsylvania

      • 1862 — First commercial oil production in Canada, also 1863 in Russia.

      • 1862 — Most widely used lamp fuel (camphene) taxed in US at aprox. $1 a gallon; kerosene taxed at 10 cent per gallon.(Kovarik, 1997)

      • 1863 — John D. Rockefeller starts the Excelsior Refinery in Cleveland, Ohio.

      • 1879 — US Geological Survey formed in part because of fear of oil shortages.

      • 1882 — Institute of Mining Engineers estimates 95 million barrels of oil remain.With 25 million barrels per year output, “Some day the cheque will come back indorsed no funds, and we are approaching that day very fast,” Samuel Wrigley says. (Pratt, p. 124).

      • 1901 — Spindletop gusher in Texas floods US oil market.

      • 1906 — Fears of an oil shortage are confirmed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Representatives of the Detroit Board of Commerce attended hearings in Washington and told a Senate hearing that car manufacturers worried “not so much [about] cost as … supply.”

      • 1919, Scientific American notes that the auto industry could no longer ignore the fact that only 20 years worth of U.S. oil was left. “The burden falls upon the engine. It must adapt itself to less volatile fuel, and it must be made to burn the fuel with less waste…. Automotive engineers must turn their thoughts away from questions of speed and weight… and comfort and endurance, to avert what … will turn out to be a calamity, seriously disorganizing an indispensable system of transportation.”

      • 1920 — David White, chief geologist of USGS, estimates total oil remaining in the US at 6.7 billion barrels. “In making this estimate, which included both proved reserves and resources still remaining to be discovered, White conceded that it might well be in error by as much as 25 percent.” (Pratt, p. 125. Emphasis added).

      • 1925 — US Commerce Dept. says that while U.S. oil production doubled between 1914 and 1921, it did not kept pace with fuel demand as the number of cars increased.

      • 1928 — US analyst Ludwell Denny in his book “We Fight for Oil” noted the domestic oil shortage and says international diplomacy had failed to secure any reliable foreign sources of oil for the United States. Fear of oil shortages would become the most important factor in international relations, even so great as to force the U.S. into war with Great Britain to secure access to oil in the Persian Gulf region, Denny said.

      • 1926 — Federal Oil Conservation Board estimates 4.5 billion barrels remain.

      • 1930 — Some 25 million American cars are on the road, up from 3 million in 1918.

      • 1932 — Federal Oil Conservation Board estimates 10 billion barrels of oil remain.

      • 1944 — Petroleum Administrator for War estimates 20 billion barrels of oil remain.

      • 1950 — American Petroleum Institute says world oil reserves are at 100 billion barrels. (See Jean Laherre, Forecast of oil and gas supply)

      • 1956 — M.King Hubbard predicts peak in US oil production by 1970.

      • 1966 – 1977 — 19 billion barrels added to US reserves, most of which was from fields discovered before 1966. (As M.A. Adelman notes: “These fields were no gift of nature. They were a growth of knowledge, paid for by heavy investment.”)

      • 1973 — Oil price spike; supply restrictions due to Middle Eastern politics.

      • 1978 — Petroleos de Venezuela announces estimated unconventional oil reserve figure for Orinoco heavy oil belt at between three and four trillion barrels. (More recent public estimates are in the one trillion range).

      • 1979 — Oil price spike; supply restrictions due to Middle Eastern politics.

      • 1980 — Remaining proven oil reserves put at 648 billion barrels

      • 1993 — Remaining proven oil reserves put at 999 billion barrels

      • 2000 — Remaining proven oil reserves put at 1016 billion barrels.

      • 2005 — Oil price spike; supply restrictions and heavy new demand

      • 2008 — Oil price spike; supply restrictions and heavy new demand, global economies collapse when oil reaches over $140 USD/bbl.

      Oil reserves have declined from 95 million barrels in 1882, to well over a trillion barrels in 2011. We will probably run out in a few centuries at the rate we are consuming the oil. A simple solution for high efficient vehicles is already available – as soon as someone figures out how to install air conditioning and all wheel drive on a motorcycle…. No, it is not an error in numbers or statement – just a little sarcasm.

      • Menicholas says:

        Exactly correct. We have always been just about to run out.
        A few months ago, I did a simple calculation, using the total volume of all the oil which had ever been produced in the world. I then compared that to the total volume of sedimentary rock on the earth’s crust. Ad in the total volume of seafloor sediments. Harder was an approximation of the total carbon content of the sediments but, even using a very conservative estimate, it was plain to see that all the oil ever produced is not even a pimple on the ass of the gnat on the Buffalo’s tushy.
        Consider just for a few seconds the volume of oil and gas that spewed out under tremendous pressure from the Macondo wellhead before it was capped. One hole. Deep sediment in places like the Gulf of Mexico and the other deep and very old ocean basins have barely even been looked at, much less scratched.
        The amounts of fossil fuels in the crust of the earth are vast beyond comprehension.

        • Exfernal says:

          However, the vast majority in your simple calculation is as feasible to extract as gold from seawater….

        • Menicholas says:

          “as feasible to extract as gold from seawater”.
          That was the view regarding shale oil and gas 10 years ago.
          Much organic material is not sufficiently concentrated to allow economical extraction. As the prices rises and as technology improves, resources that had been out of reach become less so.
          Even in conventional oil fields, as much as 50% or more of the oils is not recovered even after tertiary methods have been employed.
          Expert estimates of the total amount of oil in the ground have been consistently low. In other words, the more oil that has been discovered and extracted, the more is found to still be available.
          Why is this? And why should anyone believe that what has been true in the past in no longer true? That the current estimates are accurate?
          -All of that oil ever extracted would fit inside Mount Everest.
          -If the earth was the size of a billiard ball, this volume would be about the size of a medium bacterium.
          -The carboniferous period alone lasted for over 60 million years, and during this time vast forests covered the earth.
          – Carboniferous trees had as much as 30 to 100 times as much lignin as modern trees.
          – Lignin is very difficult to break down or digest. In a low oxygen environment, below 5%, it is mostly inert.
          – During the Carboniferous period, it is thought that no organisms had yet evolved the means to digest or break down lignin.
          -Natural gas is formed along with coal via the break down of kerogen.
          -Oil is thought to form chiefly from marine microorganisms. The area and time interval during which zooplankton and phytoplankton may have settled out to form potentially oil bearing sediments may have been twice as much area and twenty times as long a period as the terrestrial deposits which later became Carboniferous era coal deposits.
          -The first cyanobacteria evolved around 2.5 billion years ago or more.

          Just sayin’.

  11. jamzw says:

    Is oil still though to be a fossil fuel?

  12. Justa Joe says:

    I believe Musk because he obviously has no financial stake in scaring people about “fossil” fuels. /srac

  13. Bruce says:

    Let me guess Musk and Tyson both flew somewhere (at least one of them in a private jet) to have that talk about getting off fossil fuels.

  14. Tab Numlock says:

    He’s looking rather Hebraic these days.

    “Your checking account is the most vulnerable place for fraud and loss.”
    Best to keep the bulk of your money in CDs (5 yr with a reasonable penalty for early withdrawal is best). You have to call the bank to get the money out.

  15. omanuel says:

    The dumbest experiment in history was the 1945 decision to hide from the public the source of energy that destroyed Hiroshima.

    That experiment prevented science from confirming spiritual insight into the beautiful, bountiful, benevolent universe that created and sustains every atom, life and world:

    The neutron is the key to the entire universe, physically composed of two forms of one particle and enlivened by slight difference in rest masses and hugh difference in volumes and force fields for interaction with others:

    1. The compacted neutron is a proton-electron pair in close combination, as Chadwick described it in 1932. A powerful, short-range force repels neutrons from others.

    2. The expanded neutron is a proton-electron pair, 0.08% less massive and separated by a distance five-orders of magnitude greater. A weak, long-range gravitational force attracts hydrogen atoms to others.

    All mass and energy in the universe arise from this design.

  16. B says:

    Elton Musk is a crony capitalist. As a crony capitalist he must advance the goals of his partner, government. It’s that simple. Here’s how it works in the USA. You manage somehow to make a lot of money. You make the right friends. Then you use one dollar of lobbying to get $760 of return of other people’s wealth for your good ideas. That’s how it works.

  17. Steve says:

    the thing I most hate about this argument is that yeah, we do need an alternative fuel source in the future. oil and other such resources will run dry at some point. but why do they think a solution to this won’t come about naturally? people are certainly innovative in times of need.just look at all the innovations that came out of the tragedy that was WWII. what is the point of wasting money in the short term?

  18. nigelf says:

    Tyson sounded surprised: “Can you think of a dumber experiment?” he asked Musk.
    I can: having human-hating lefties like these two in positions of power.

  19. nigelf says:

    “I honestly cannot. What good could possibly come of [staying on oil],” Musk said.

    Then get off it. Immediately!

  20. Richard Lee Stevens says:

    There are many excellent comments about this article, but I do not think that its true dumbness has been addressed yet. Carbon di-oxide does not change the chemical composition of the atmosphere. The atmosphere is a mixture of chemicals (gasses). Carbon di-oxide reacts slightly with water to form a very weak acid (carbonic acid). Green plants can react with carbon di-oxide, but that removes carbon di-oxide from the atmosphere. Apparently, Mr. Musk does not know the difference between a mixture and a compound.

  21. Brian H says:

    Musk’s cars are wonderful, and stand on their own, with awards like “Best Car ever tested”, etc. His hyperbole about the CO2 ‘experiment’ is silly, though; Gaia has already done the test, and it has been multiples higher than now, multiples higher than burning all available fossil fuels could drive it, with no consequences for temperature — which always precedes CO2 in its fluctuations.

    The trope about government money is also silly. Tesla, e.g., took a $500M 10-yr loan and repaid it at 20X speed, using market funds invested by private firms and individuals through the stock market. No other car maker is even within 90% of repaying! It is running hard to try to catch up with demand, and is about to ‘repatriate’ the LiIon battery industry to US soil (>50% of the global capacity) to meet a 10X increase within 2 yrs.

    SpaceX had no government grants or loans, but has some government launch contracts as a minority on its manifest, at far less than the prices others charge, and is fulfilling them spectacularly well. It is within 3 weeks of demonstrating the first ever successful landing of a re-usable booster, which would cut costs to orbit by >100X, and revolutionize spaceflight.

    Unfortunately, he’s bought into SkS’ meme on CO2. Hopefully he’ll get wised up on that.

    • gator69 says:

      When Musk first started talking abut his ‘car for the masses’, after the debut of his roadster, I was convinced that would be my next new car. The Tesla is indeed a fine looking, and on short runs, great performing automobile. But then the money problems started. First the cost nearly doubled from his original sales pitch. Now we see this…

      Most of the taxpayers who are subsidizing Tesla cars cannot afford to buy one.

      It’s natural to assume the enemy of your enemy is your friend, especially when the enemy in question is big government. So it should come as no surprise that many conservatives have rallied to the side of Elon Musk and his electric-car company, Tesla Motors, in their fights to change state auto-retailing laws so they can sell vehicles directly to consumers, without using franchised auto dealerships. Bans on direct sales don’t make much sense, and it would be great to have a less regulated automotive market. But it is dangerous to allow Tesla to portray itself as a free-market champion, because the company is actually a prodigious harvester of government favors and handouts. Tesla’s flagship automobile, the Model S, would not only fail to make money in a free market, it would likely bankrupt any company that tried. As the Los Angeles Times reported, Tesla’s “cars themselves aren’t making the company any money.” A Model S with a typical options package sells for more than $100,000, but that is literally tens of thousands of dollars less than it costs to manufacture and sell. How, then, does Tesla make its money? The direct subsidies for purchasers, to encourage them to buy “clean-energy” vehicles, are fairly well-known: a $7,500 federal tax credit and a wide variety of state-level incentive programs.

      Less well-known are the hidden subsidies that flow directly to Tesla, thanks to “zero-emission vehicle” (ZEV) credits. ZEV credits are a mandate dreamed up by the bureaucrats at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which requires manufacturers to build and dealers to sell an arbitrary number of “zero-emission” vehicles each year. (Note that these vehicles are actually “zero-emission” only in the unlikely event that the electricity used by the car comes from a zero-emission source — which, of course, would also be heavily subsidized.) Tesla’s Model S generates four credits per unit sold. This means the company can sell $20,000 in ZEV credits to other manufacturers for each Model S sold — a cost borne by purchasers of other cars.

      And that amount used to be even higher. Because ZEV law is so arcane, Tesla was able to game the system for additional credits; for example, it was able to generate an additional three credits per vehicle when it demonstrated to CARB that its batteries could theoretically be rapidly swapped. But in fact the battery-swapping pilot program is more than a year late getting started. Nonetheless, those extra credits netted the company an additional $15,000 per car sold — and the company is now trying to get them reinstated. In 2013, ZEV credits to Tesla totaled $129.8 million — to a company that lost $61.3 million for the year on its actual manufacturing and selling operations. In 2014, Nevada lavished the company with one of the biggest corporate-welfare packages in history: In exchange for building a battery-manufacturing facility near Reno, Tesla will pay no payroll or property taxes for ten years and no sales taxes for 20 years, and will receive $195 million in cash via “transferable tax credits,” which can be sold to other companies to satisfy their Nevada tax bills. All of this amounts to a $1.3 billion giveaway. Tesla and its apologists constantly tout the fact that the company paid off its hefty $465 million taxpayer-subsidized loan from the Department of Energy early, but they don’t explain why: Had the loan not been paid early, the U.S. Treasury stood to grab a significant portion of the company’s increased stock price by exercising warrants. Capitalizing on the subsidy-stoked electric-car mania that pumped its stock to record levels, Tesla issued $450 million in new stock to pay the loan early and cancel those warrants. The shrewd deal cost taxpayers about a billion dollars, leading Scott Woolley to conclude: “Tesla is worse than Solyndra.” Tesla has effectively socialized its costs through subsidized loans, tax credits, abatements, and regulatory schemes while privatizing its gains by canceling the warrants owned by taxpayers. Every time a Tesla is sold, we witness a transfer of wealth to a rich hobbyist (most Teslas are their owners’ third or fourth car), while average Americans are on the hook for at least $30,000 in federal and state subsidies. Tesla is more a regulatory arbitrageur than an auto manufacturer. In its 2014 annual report, Tesla made clear that continued special tax benefits are critical to the company’s business plan: “Our growth depends in part on the availability and amounts of government subsidies and economic incentives.” Yet the company and Musk are now free-market heroes because they want to disrupt the franchised-dealer system? Sorry, but no. Prohibitions on direct vehicle sales are restraints of trade that shouldn’t exist, but I have mixed feelings at best about repealing them for the purpose of making it easier for Tesla to fleece taxpayers. As Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the largest U.S. auto-retailing company, aptly put it: “There’s a certain irony here that as Elon Musk complains about government intervention and government protectionism, he wouldn’t exist without the government.” When Tesla paid back its loan early to extinguish the warrants, Musk stated that he wanted to thank “the American taxpayer, from whom these funds originate. I hope we did you proud.” They didn’t, and nobody should mistake Tesla for a friend of the free market.


      • A good number of otherwise decent people were (& some still are) conned by him. He talks a good talk, & the idea of electric cars excites a certain type of engineer in a way that beggers belief. I started from the simple prejudice that any ass who would start a company like paypal would have to be inherently rotten, so I honestly didn’t care if he was telling the truth in this one instance or not: he was out to fuck everything & everyone he could, & not in the good way.

        It parallels perfectly with gobble worming: even back when I didn’t know whether the Earth was warming or not, the people who were talking it up were terrible, malthusian monsters, so I didn’t honestly care about the science. True or not, it was being used for evil, & I couldn’t support that.

        • gator69 says:

          I was rooting for Tesla, when it was still just a concept, because I know what an electric car can do in a quarter mile…

        • Pfft. I have a concept for a nuclear bomb powered dragster that’s a wooden cart with a concrete ablative shield mounted at the rear. 0-60 is a couple of nano seconds. We’re looking for a few test pilots who can withstand being mushed into a molecule-thin layer onto the front of a piece of concrete travelling at around 10x the speed of sound. No fat chicks.

        • gator69 says:

          Sorry, but Chris has a better prototype…

    • Xopher Halftongue says:

      What I suspect is that Musk knows that GreenPiss ideology is anti-human but pays lip service to it (especially in the presence of Niel Degrasse Tyson). In action, however, Musk is avowedly pro-human… just look at his efforts at improving access to space and making human *civilization* multi-planetary. I would say Musk, like others in Silicon Valley and in East Asia, actually subscribe to a new religion with no name that venerates technology while pretending to serve the Progressive State Religion (which Environmentalism is a part). The movie Interstellar was basically a hymn to the new techno-religion.

      It reminds me of Christian Bishops in the Early Roman Empire who dressed in pagan priestly garb to make themselves appear to be good pagans in front of the Roman Elites. Where do you think the vestments of Catholic and Orthodox Christian Bishops came from, eh?

  22. we have… get[-]off oil

    Said Mister Musk, invitingly, as Mister Tyson removed his pants & crouched eagerly on the Mazola-slickened shower curtain that now adorned the kitchen floor. Somewhere, a battered chicken softly sighed with relief & prayed for the sweet meteor of death to arrive soon.

  23. Gail Combs says:

    Stark Dickflüssig says: “Pfft. I have a concept for a nuclear bomb powered dragster….”

    Some one already beat you to it.
    This Car Runs For 100 Years Without Refuelling – The Thorium Car

    ….As far as fuelling a car goes, it could run for 100 years on just 8 grams of fuel. A company called Laser Power Systems has been working on creating an emissions free turbine/electric generator powered by nuclear thorium lasers. Charles Stevens, CEO and chairman of the Connecticut-based company claims that one gram of thorium yields the energy of 7,500 gallons of gasoline. The energy is harnessed by heating the thorium with an external source, which then becomes so dense that its molecules emit heat….

    …Laser Power Systems (LPS) from Connecticut, USA, is developing a new method of automotive propulsion with one of the most dense materials known in nature: thorium. Because thorium is so dense it has the potential to produce tremendous amounts of heat. The company has been experimenting with small bits of thorium, creating a laser that heats water, produces steam and powers a mini turbine…,

    Current models of the engine weigh 500 pounds, easily fitting into the engine area of a conventionally-designed vehicle. According to CEO Charles Stevens, just one gram of the substance yields more energy than 7,396 gallons (28,000 L) of gasoline and 8 grams would power the typical car for a century.

    The idea of using thorium is not new. In 2009, Loren Kulesus designed the Cadillac World Thorium Fuel Concept Car. LPS is developing the technology so it can be mass-produced….

    Cadillac World Thorium Fuel Concept (Image Courtesy (wwwDOT)cutedesign.com)

    • gator69 says:

      It’s been done before, without the dangerous thorium… 😉

      • Gail Combs says:

        It was sabotage* during a race that killed the steam car. “A Stanley Steamer set the world record for the fastest mile in an automobile (28.2 seconds) in 1906. This record was not broken by any automobile until 1911.” (WIKI) Interesting that the WIKI article mentions nothing about the sabotage.

        Then on January 26, 1906 Fred Marriott drove the Rocket 127.66 miles per hour completing the mile in 28.12 seconds. A world land speed record that would last until 1910. Former records were held by the Darracq (France) and the Napier (England). Below is an image of the Rocket. link

        The 1906 Stanley Steam Car – The Fastest Car In The World

        F. E. Stanley With His Steam Powered Torpedo Racer

        (*I have caving buddies who are also steam engine buffs.)

    • How silly! You convert good ol’ radiation into heat which you then convert into electricity which you then convert into kinetic energy? Bah! Skip all those middle steps & turn the expansive properties of uncontained nuclear radiation into kinetic energy directly! & when you’re converting as efficiently as I plan, any waste heat absorbed by the shield gets converted into additional kinetic energy at a stupendous rate as well.

    • Additionally, with my design, the vehicle never needs refueling again. Ever. 100% guaranteed. You can get to every destination you’ll ever need to get to for the rest of your life within 30 or 40 milliseconds or your money back.

      • gator69 says:

        What about resale value? And does it come with airbags and roadside assistance?

        • Coming from a vibrant & kinetic company you can be assured that it has a very expansive warranty policy. Primary coverage extends to 30km from the location where you first engaged the `warp` drive (we’re working on a name that can be trademarked without infringing those weird sexual perverts with the pointy ears), & secondary coverage is global under most situations.

          Passenger safety is our greatest concern, which means that all of your medical expenses will be entirely paid for by our company for the rest of your life (again, this applies strictly after you have driven our vehicle for the first time). This coverage applies regardless of whether your heath issue was in any way related to our reliable & safe vehicle(s).

          Unfortunately, roadside assistance cannot be offered, although we are discussing the inclusion of a lead spatula & a 50-pack of handi-wipes in a sealed compartment under the driver’s seat with the Atomic Regulatory Commission.

          Resale value is obviously a non-issue as no customer would ever dream of parting with his vehicle under any circumstances less than a total nuclear war, which we are in no way fomenting, or planning to foment.

      • … vehicle never needs refueling again.

        Stark, I admire your passion but you didn’t think it through. Just one word: CAFE. How will you calculate MPG, huh? How many times do you think the Feds will try to divide by zero before they’ll get all bitchy and shut you down so they can go home?

        You should be able to sell it to the Germans. They go by L/100 km. Except Angela said after Fukushima she’s shutting it all down so that’s that.

        You must think out of the box, like Elon. Consider the Nations. It’s a niche market but they have lots of casino cash. Cut them in on it. You can build the cars right there on the reservations and sell them on the spot. If the Feds try to pull CAFE on you, your investors will counter with sovereign rights of the tribes and send them packing.

  24. AJ Virgo says:

    These idiots truly believe in runaway CO2 warming. I don’t blame them, I blame the “scientists” and the Greens (Reds).

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