Did Henry Ford’s Success Come About Because He Demanded the Execution of Horses?


Terry Etam

“In addition to such problems with the perception of risk, it is also a scientific fact, and a shocking one, that both risk detection and risk avoidance are not mediated in the “thinking” part of the brain but largely in the emotional one…The consequences are not trivial: It means that rational thinking has little, very little, to do with risk avoidance.” – Nassim Taleb, Fooled by Randomness, p 38)

Fire! Fear. 

Flood! Fear. 

Drought! Fear. 

There is a global shortage of natural gas! Blank stare.

Are we very good at analyzing risk? I mean, big risk?

People, particularly enthusiastic energy transition enthusiasts, like to point to instances in human history where a new technology rapidly wiped out an old one. Two pillars of this line of thought are the switch from horses to automobiles, and the one from land lines to cell phones.

Neither of these are particularly intelligent comparisons to an energy transition; both brought phase-change-equivalent upheavals to the way we lived. A car was able to expand one’s world dramatically compared to a horse, and cell phones brought an unimaginably huge catalogue of potential compared to a land line phone. 

An energy transition will bring a modified and possibly less form of pollution and/or habitat destruction, but there will be no revolutionary uplifting of public life (evidence points to the opposite, if German firewood sales are any indication).

Besides that, there is a fundamental difference in the way the drivers of all these “transitions” masterminded them. To be more precise, the true inevitable and massive transitions were not masterminded at all.

When the auto revolution began, Henry Ford did not simultaneously introduce the Model T and call for the mass slaughter of horses. It is quite probable that Ford did not consider the horse’s future at all. He simply built a product that the imagined would be popular, because he could see how it would revolutionize lives.

At the same time, governments did not step in to hasten the demise of horse usage. The very suggestion of that sounds absurd.

When cell phones became popular, Blackberry fans did not pressure governments to eliminate the usage of landlines. No one cared what happened to landlines. They were too excited by what their new mobile devices could do.

In the business world, we are accustomed to sorting out the things that we know can be done, but with technical difficulty, and things that we know simply can’t be done because they are impossible, either in a given time frame, or because the physical/regulatory/economic world won’t allow it. It’s not black and white, but a gradient based on experience.

Elon Musk started building EVs at a time when global auto manufacturers said ‘that’ll never work.” The industry saw no evidence that lithium ion batteries could be packaged safely in such a way as to power a vehicle. That’s an example of the far end of the “can be done” spectrum. 

Now, consider the implications for an “energy transition” of Musk’s success versus the “kick the legs out from under everyone” mindset (of the crowd that still, unfathomably, after watching what happens in time of shortage, will soon board jets bound for COP27 where they will dance and chant around fossil fuel funeral pyres at the very same time that half the world’s governments introduce fossil fuel subsidies by the hundreds of billions to prevent anarchy in the streets (but I digress)). 

Musk’s success indicated that a new potential motive solution was viable, and in some instances, preferable. There are many places where an electrified vehicle is beneficial, say in enclosed spaces where exhaust is deadly, or for small devices/appliances that only require an hour’s use here and there and whose combustion engines belch massive emissions (and of course many other instances as well.

But Musk’s success did not mean that the entire old system of gasoline/diesel internal combustion engines can be readily replaced or replaced at all. Musk’s efforts provided a toehold by which the process could begin; it didn’t point to any foregone conclusions even if he thought it revolutionary and potentially game changing.

Optimists did decide on a foregone conclusion though, that this new battery EV tech would displace internal combustion engines, and fast (a professorial California loon named Tony Seba predicted, in 2016, that by 2025 all vehicles sold would be electric, and that gas stations would be obsolete by then too). Western governments have decided to shoot all the horses, in effect; many countries have mapped out plans to eliminate sales of internal combustion engines within a decade or two.

In the panic to “do something about the climate”, people wanted to believe, and many appeared instantly to cheerlead on the new developments, because the alternative is fire/flood/drought. There’s nothing wrong enthusiasm – we need it, and need risk takers and early adopters as well. But fear is not the way to go – the media shouting “fire” in the movie theatre is not conducive to progress.

There is no guarantee that any new technology will succeed (in fact, in an unstable new environment, there is always a possibility that a new new technology will spring up to overtake the “new” technology – for example, given the world’s push to hydrogen, it is conceivable that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles could become more dominant than battery electric vehicles). 

So we get to the heart of the current global catastrophic problem: the difference in consequences between the possibility that a new technology will succeed versus the expectation/demand that it will succeed – and the dismantling of the old because it is a foregone conclusion that the new will take over.

We have gone down the path of the latter, because “science” has told us we must. We must reduce emissions, we must reduce fossil fuel consumption, etc. It is life or death, according to anyone who declares a climate emergency, and thus full support is thrown behind proposals that will bring about this desired state.

But what if the expectation is wrong? What are the consequences of a ‘bad bet’? Well, it depends on who is doing the betting.

Look at Musk’s EV success from one perspective, that of someone betting on his new technology or his stock. If EVs take over and dominate the market, the investor wins big. If EVs do not, or if for any other reason Musk’s company fails, then investors lose their money, which is a story told ten billion times in the history of stock exchanges.

But what if the macro level “bettors”, the governments and policymakers, are wrong? What if they participate in the demolition of the existing energy system on the grounds that it appears the new tech in question will dominate?

Then what happens when governments start to panic, realizing that the change is not happening fast enough, so that they legislate adoption of EVs, without knowing the consequences of that either? 

Well, I’ll tell you what happens – we all run out of fuel, and that’s happening now in large parts of the world (and this was becoming evident in 2021, before Putin’s debauchery). 

The policy strategy is a grand failure on at least two fronts, both of which have the ability to greatly diminish life as we know it.

One front is the simple inability of the manufacturing world to procure the metals and minerals necessary to make the conversion happen. Mining experts point out that there are not enough critical metals/minerals in the world (in terms of proven deposits); the great-green-convert International Energy Agency points out that net zero targets will require four times as much mineral production by 2040 (with no line of sight as to how that could occur, just that it “must”), and even the CBC chimes in by penning a story about a report saying the world will need “more than 300 new mines” to accomplish what we hope, a typically mindless declaration in that a “new mine” is not a new factory or new building; to develop a new mine means the discovery of sufficient quantities of economically recoverable metals/minerals (no guarantee these exist), that construction of said mine can happen at all under increasing regulatory burdens (no guarantee that any mine can be put into production), and that the produced metals/minerals can be processed when and where and how we want the to be (environmental regulations will greatly challenge this last point).

That parameter alone – a lack of known/recoverable (with certainty) mineral deposits – should be enough to cause any wise governing authority to take a step back and say “whoa, we better not try to force anything until this is sorted.” No one anywhere starts building a huge anything when they have been told loud and clear that the building materials are not and will not be available for decades.

But that’s not the worst of it. The worst is the decimation of the existing energy system, and that factor is a thousand times worse because that energy system keeps everyone alive, and produces everything without our field of vision that comes from the hands of humans.

The consequences of throttling that existing system have not been contemplated, because of blind faith in the new system. But reality is, as usual, having the final say over wishes – see European energy crisis, rapidly rising coal consumption, firewood hoarding, and on and on.

The success of an energy transition is completely contingent on the ability of any new energy tech to grow and thrive to the extent it renders the old system redundant. The transition will happen when, as with automobiles, the public no longer cares about the old at all because the new is so much superior.

But our rulers seem unable to grasp the magnitude of that contingency. If one wants to destroy the existing (fossil fuel) system, the new one must be ready and proven in its entirety, and be something consumers are rushing towards (most of the people rushing towards it now are lured by endless piles of subsidies, grants, and incentives, all freshly government generated). 

That’s how life works, when replacing something elemental. Don’t be confused with a consumer’s readiness to adapt to a cell phone (or even an EV), the comparison  to an energy transition is nonsensical. The “downside” of adapting to a cell phone is the cost of leaving behind a landline, and what cost is that? Almost zero. The cost of adapting to an EV is considerably more challenging, but doable, and based upon a person’s ability to find adequate charge and possibly a rethink of travel habits (and even that hill is insurmountable for a lot of people).

Developers of new technology like the auto and the cell phone did not immediately assume global domination of their product, and did not predicate its success on someone destroying the old reliable competition. Business decisions aren’t made that way.

It is terrifying to think that the energy transition is being orchestrated by people who do not understand the difference. Good luck to you all. 

The energy transition will happen – but it won’t look like what’s being forced on us. We will rethink “environmentalism” in completely different terms. Read about that in  “The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity” at Amazon.caIndigo.ca, or Amazon.com.  Thanks for the support. And hang in there Ukraine! The world is cheering you on.

Read more insightful analysis from Terry Etam here, or email Terry here.

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Insufficiently Sensitive
October 20, 2022 10:08 am

Musk’s success indicated that a new potential motive solution was viable, and in some instances, preferable.

Musk isn’t dumb – his success was built around the obscene government subsidies delivered to the already-rich purchasers of Teslas.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Insufficiently Sensitive
October 20, 2022 4:04 pm

And when his subsidy quota ran out, and other car manufacturers started getting their quotas, he wanted the government to end the subsidies! Altruistic he is not.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 21, 2022 10:25 am

Only the direct subsidies have ended. The CAFE credits for electric vehicles continue, as well as tax and regulatory breaks for his factories.

Reply to  Insufficiently Sensitive
October 21, 2022 6:02 am

correct how many Tesla’s have been sold with out subsidies

Reply to  Insufficiently Sensitive
October 21, 2022 4:24 pm

Even with subsidies, a “basic” Tesla costs around 45 000 € while similar or larger cars with a good pollution rating are half the price.
[There was a time when the model 3 cheapest color (white) no options could be bought for less that 40 000 € but I believe it’s over.]

And people don’t buy Tesla long range or model X because of subsidies.

October 20, 2022 10:13 am

Well said but I have two disagreements …. “We have gone down the path of the latter, because “science” has told us we must.” No, science isn’t driving the transition or there wouldn’t be the constant unproven fear mongering about CO2. And …. “…the energy transition is being orchestrated by people who do not understand.” I think he/we believe the politicians and elites are driving when in fact they are nothing but useful idiots to the Marxists like Klaus.

Reply to  markl
October 22, 2022 3:37 pm

We gave up on electric cars(along with the Stanley Steamer)and windmills about 120 odd years ago.So, why are we using this FAILED technology in this day and age?

John Garrett
October 20, 2022 10:17 am

What a lovely essay by Terry Etam— so simple and elegant that even a New York Times journalist or subscriber ought to be able to understand it.

Steve Case
Reply to  John Garrett
October 20, 2022 10:34 am

What a lovely essay … so simple and elegant that even a
New York Times journalist or subscriber ought to be able
to understand it.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when
his salary depends upon his not understanding it!
                                                                 Upton Sinclair

Reply to  Steve Case
October 21, 2022 2:56 am

more people should re read or read The Jungle awful lot there is still happening in varying degrees

Curious George
Reply to  John Garrett
October 20, 2022 11:49 am

Am I the only one reading it as an advertisement for his book?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Curious George
October 20, 2022 12:19 pm


Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Curious George
October 20, 2022 4:12 pm

People whose analysis of future energy supply can wish to spread their messages, hoping that eventually, decision makers might see and hopefully understand and act.
There is a trendy social conduct tactic of turning away, saying nothing when ideas are challenged. Ignorance is bliss. What can the producer of ideas do when few people express interest or ability to understand?
Write a book. Publicise the book. Try to make it good enough that readers reject old ideas and adopt yours. Like happened with cars and horses.
Why on Earth are readers critical of Terry’s promotion? Are we destroying freedom of expression before a better replacement has been found? Geoff S

Reply to  Curious George
October 20, 2022 11:57 pm

I was trying to dis the writer for his many typos and so on, when my message got totally corrupted into something as haphazard as this guy’s grammar. Apologies

John the Econ
October 20, 2022 10:33 am

Could you imagine what this country would be like had the government in the early 20th century actively try to force the transition from horses to automobiles? We’d still probably be dependent upon horses today.

October 20, 2022 10:44 am

Besides the advantages of the car and truck in covering distance in less time, it takes more effort to care for a horse The gasoline engine and oil allowed for an increase in commerce, farm production resulting in the growth of nations.

The typewriter allowed companies to grow because of the ease and distribution of documentation. No one killed off the men who wrote documents with pen and ink. The author is correct if you have to destroy an acceptable technology or source to promote a new, the new is not worthy of use.

Steve (Paris)
Reply to  Olen
October 20, 2022 11:23 am

Victor Davis Hanson recently pointed out that a Ford tractor effectively doubled the size of his grandfather’s farm. The 60 acres used to grow horse feed and graze the horses could be planted with productive crops. 10 acres were nontheless set aside to support the two or three horses that were kept effectively as pets.

Reply to  Steve (Paris)
October 20, 2022 3:24 pm

You have only to look at the number of Amish and Mennonite farmers who use tractors (with steel wheels) on their farms, but use a horse and buggy to go to church or on non-farm excursions. They know the economic benefit of mechanized farming.

Gerard O'Dowd
Reply to  Olen
October 20, 2022 3:49 pm

The horse as a primary motive force in major cities like NYC and Chicago required an army of municipal sanitation workers to clean the streets and the daily removal of horse manure created small mountains in various locations. The flies were disease vectors. The mortality rate among working animals also took a daily toll and required the removal of the carcasses.. . I’ve also read estimates though I don’t have the reference that the percentage of American farm land required for the forage and feeding of horses was about 50% in the 19thC. Not only was the farmland then used to cultivate crops for Human beings permitting an enhancement to diet at lower prices; but the farm labor force itself got redeployed to higher paying occupations in factories and professions- so the percentage of the American workers employed on farms dropped precipitously as the ICE and mechanized farm equipment replaced the horse drawn harvesters. Farm productivity rose.

Terry Etam’s article doesn’t mention the Economic idea of Opportunity Cost that money spent on idea A at Time X can’t be spent on idea B at Time X+1 no matter how much better an idea B>A. Economics always and everywhere involves Tradeoffs.

Bob Hunter
October 20, 2022 10:45 am

Missing in the article, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford to Walton, Gates, Bezos, Jobs to name a few never received government funding to create world leading companies. Mention it, because Biden just handed out another $2.8 billion to battery companies today.

Reply to  Bob Hunter
October 20, 2022 11:31 am

But only if they agree to follow ESG guidelines.

Reply to  Bob Hunter
October 20, 2022 8:44 pm

The Government is so good at picking winners.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
October 20, 2022 9:58 pm

Its just about axiomatic, that the best indicator of a bad investment is that the Government thinks its a good investment.

Last edited 5 months ago by davidf
The Dark Lord
October 20, 2022 11:11 am

this is a power play … CO2 is just their “excuse” … and a fraudulent one at that …

Reply to  The Dark Lord
October 20, 2022 3:25 pm

Absolutely. The acid rain thing didn’t solve their problem of fossil fuel use, so we are on to plan B.

Reply to  starzmom
October 20, 2022 10:01 pm

Ha, the acid rain scare is hugely ironic – what are certain Government sponsored wonks proposing to fix the Climate Crisis – spraying SO2 into the atmosphere! Which was the source of the acid rain!! Cant make this shit up!!

October 20, 2022 11:27 am

If the Tesla proved that electric cars were “viable”, why did he need so many subsidies to do it?

And they are still getting subsidies, from tax preferences for his factories, to freebies for people who buy his products. Such as not paying road usage taxes, free charging in many places, not having to pay tolls, etc.

Curious George
Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2022 11:54 am

Even today electric cars feel like an immature technology. Definitely not ready to eliminate internal combustion engine cars.

Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2022 12:45 pm

Straight up Mark. How do you justify the billions the oil industry has received in breaks from governments for the last gazillion years and yet condemn the EV industry for getting the same?

jeffery p
Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 1:06 pm

Please quit repeating debunked nonsense .

First, I don’t care what breaks government gave the oil industry in the past.It doesn’t matter.

Second, a break is not the same as a giveaway. Oil companies are typically among the companies that pay the most taxes.

Third, assuming your false equivalency is true, it doesn’t justify subsidizing an industry which sells to the most affluent. This is taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

Reply to  jeffery p
October 20, 2022 1:18 pm

So to be clear …. you are ok with the oil industry getting breaks(and they have) because they benefit all and not just the affluent? So if EV’s come down in price and are still receiving breaks you will be ok with that?

Last edited 5 months ago by Simon
jeffery p
Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 1:40 pm

Why do EVs deserve “breaks?” Because other businesses receive”breaks?”

Maybe we better define breaks. I think you’re equating two different things.

Reply to  jeffery p
October 20, 2022 3:30 pm

I doubt Simon understands anything as complex as depreciation.

Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2022 8:46 pm

I don’t think he understands “equating”.

Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2022 9:51 pm

Or rebates of federal .excise levies for roads infrastructure collected at the pump by government on all diesel sold, but for which off-road consumption was rebated to miners, foresters, fishers, farmers, etc.

it was always an administrative convenience for government to make diesel vendors include the excise, and then make the exempt off-road consumers claim back the rebate $$$s.

But greenies always promote the big lie that this arrangement is a “subsidy” for miners / drillers.

Bill Powers
Reply to  MarkW
October 22, 2022 3:43 pm

I doubt Simon understands anything. This is the problem the country has with brainwashing 3 generations of participation trophy recipients. 60 percent of U.S. college students, 10 years ago, couldn’t find Mexico on a map.

George Daddis
Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 1:42 pm

No, we don’t accept your premise that the oil industry got breaks, other than what any other industry gets. Writing off “expenses” that were incurred to make those profits is part of every country’s tax laws.

You clearly don’t understand tax accounting.
You may want to get your information from sources other than “green” blogs.

Reply to  George Daddis
October 20, 2022 1:55 pm

Are you saying the oil industry only received government support(tax breaks) that every other industry received. If so then … how do I put this… you are wrong. I can list these exclusive breaks if you want.
The fact is, the oil and coal industries has been given significant government support for the best part of 100 years, some exclusive to them. And the justification was that they wanted to keep energy cheap. That made complete sense. But it is ironic those same businesses are bleating saying it’s unfair that clean energy is given breaks.

jeffery p
Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 2:10 pm

And how does that matter?

Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 3:31 pm

And once again, Simon is forced to make up wild claims when his first wild claims are debunked.

Simon has yet to learn the first rule of holes.

Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 8:47 pm

So, list them here and now.

Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 3:29 pm

In Simon’s world, being allowed to deduct the cost of doing business is a subsidy.
The depletion allowance is no different than depreciation for other industries.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 11:58 pm

So… Simon… am I correct in thinking you are admitting that EVs are out of the price range for the average person despite the ‘breaks’ they are given?

Reply to  Craig from Oz
October 21, 2022 1:49 am

So… Simon… am I correct in thinking you are admitting that EVs are out of the price range for the average person”Yep. But so were automobiles when the fuel they were using were given serious tax breaks. No different, just different times.

Reply to  Simon
October 21, 2022 10:28 am

As always, Simon simply can’t admit that he’s wrong. No matter how much data is given, he sticks with his lies.

George Daddis
Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 1:36 pm

A subsidy is quite different from the tax write-offs every industry including those related to “renewables” enjoy.
It is not true that the oil industry enjoyed “breaks”.

Reply to  George Daddis
October 20, 2022 1:56 pm

It is not true that the oil industry enjoyed “breaks”.”
Oh please…..

jeffery p
Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 2:48 pm

I noticed you are not answering any questions regarding your claims.

Reply to  jeffery p
October 20, 2022 3:32 pm

He never does.

Reply to  MarkW
October 21, 2022 1:50 am

I note you didn’t answer my original question which was….
Straight up Mark. How do you justify the billions the oil industry has received in breaks from governments for the last gazillion years and yet condemn the EV industry for getting the same?
I’ll look forward to your answer…..

Last edited 5 months ago by Simon
Reply to  Simon
October 21, 2022 6:49 am

“last gazillion years” – oil industry as we know it only came into being in the 19th century – it’s not even 200 years old.

Why don’t you just state what unjustified subsidy the oil industry gets so we can end this unproductive juvenile back-and-forth comments.

I have never seen an instance like with EVs, that the government subsidizes rich people’s hot-rods. The real reason behind Musk’s success is the performance of his vehicles, proving that the subsidies are wasted taxpayer money.

Even green zealots should be able to agree that no subsidy should apply to luxury-priced vehicles.

Reply to  PCman999
October 21, 2022 10:30 am

Don’t expect simple to actually answer your question.

Reply to  PCman999
October 21, 2022 9:59 pm

Why don’t you just state what unjustified subsidy “
Can you quote where I said they were unjustified?

Reply to  Simon
October 22, 2022 10:01 am

Dodging the question again.

Reply to  Simon
October 21, 2022 10:29 am

I did answer your question simple, there are no such subsidies, they exist only in your fevered imagination.

Reply to  MarkW
October 21, 2022 10:04 pm

Intangible Drilling Costs Deduction (26 U.S. Code § 263. Active). This provision allows companies to deduct a majority of the costs incurred from drilling new wells domestically.
I’d say that was a deduction other industries don’t get to benefit from wouldn’t you Mark?

Credit for Clean Coal Investment Internal Revenue Code § 48A (Active) and 48B (Inactive). These subsidies create a series of tax credits for energy investments, particularly for coal. In 2005, Congress authorized $1.5 billion in credits for integrated gasification combined cycle properties, with $800 million of this amount reserved specifically for coal projects. In 2008, additional incentives for carbon sequestration were added to IRC § 48B and 48A
I’d say that’s a good little helping hand wouldn’t you Mark?

Nonconventional Fuels Tax Credit (Internal Revenue Code § 45. Inactive). Sunsetted in 2014, this tax credit was created by the Crude Oil Windfall Profit Tax Act of 1980 to promote domestic energy production and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Although amendments to the act limited the list of qualifying fuel sources, this credit provided $12.2 billion to the coal industry from 2002-2010.

The list just seems to go on…..

Reply to  Simon
October 22, 2022 10:04 am

In what passes as your mind, any expense that exists in only one industry must be taxed at 100%. The cost of drilling for oil is a legitimate business expense, deducting it is no subsidy.

All I see is you whining that companies you don’t like are allowed to deduct expenses.
As to the last two, being able to deduct costs government forces on you sounds fair.

The list has yet to start.

Reply to  MarkW
October 22, 2022 12:53 pm

I’m not the one whining. You bleat regularly about how unfair it is the green energy industry keeps getting unfair breaks. In fact this little thread started with your moan….“If the Tesla proved that electric cars were “viable”, why did he need so many subsidies to do it?
And they are still getting subsidies, from tax preferences for his factories, to freebies for people who buy his products. Such as not paying road usage taxes, free charging in many places, not having to pay tolls, etc.”
So I’m just pointing out the the oil industry has received quite a few tax breaks from government over the years, but you seem to think that’s all fair because all companies get tax breaks. No Mark, these are ones created for the oil and coal industry. They are very specific. You are… and have always been an Olympic level hypocrite. This is just another example.

Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 3:32 pm

Just because you desperately believe something to be so, does not make it true.
Insisting otherwise just proves how little you know about anything.

Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 3:42 pm

Well, Simon,
you seem to know what “breaks” the oil industry received that are special and unique. Please list those you consider significant. Include an external reference that we can verify.

I suspect we will either see nothing (because that’s what there is), or misinterpretations of bog standard legislative ‘bribes’ like “build your new thing in our place and we’ll give you a 10 year tax holiday and clear out the riff-raff that own the land now”. I am willing to be amazed if you can produce a real special break that takes money from the public and gives it to an oil company as a regular proposition. Willing, but not believing.

Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 5:43 pm

Either put up or shut up … you keep talking about “breaks” so describe them. All companies get tax breaks for cost of doing business as even the renewable companies do. So aside from those explain in clear concise english any other “breaks” because at the moment you look like a serial dribbling nutcase.

Last edited 5 months ago by LdB
Reply to  LdB
October 21, 2022 1:52 am

All companies get tax breaks for cost of doing business as even the renewable companies do”
But when the renewable companies get them, everyone wets their pants here.

jeffery p
Reply to  Simon
October 21, 2022 7:14 am

As noted previously, you are falsely, deceptively, claiming A equals B, all without offering any evidence to back up your claims.

Reply to  Simon
October 21, 2022 10:32 am

Even by your low standards simple, that was pathetic.
Nobody objects to any company getting standard tax breaks such as depreciation or depletion allowances.

You are the only one who insists that they are subsidies.

Reply to  George Daddis
October 20, 2022 3:39 pm

A few days ago, Simon was insisting that Tesla got no subsidies.
Now he’s trying to defend those subsidies that Tesla isn’t getting.

Reply to  Simon
October 20, 2022 3:27 pm

The oil industry hasn’t received any subsidies from the government.
I see you have bought into yet another lie.

Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2022 4:21 pm

Lest we forget how much
gas and diesel is taxed at the pump as well as all the other taxes they pay.

Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2022 6:26 pm

Just to clarify: Democrats have redefined subsidy to include both tax breaks and disbursements (the handouts that fit the traditional definition of subsidy). By the new definition used in government, oil companies get the same subsidies in terms of tax breaks as every other business, and they get much more in total than ‘renewables’ because they produce vastly more, just as a chain gets more than a single store.

Renewables also get special tax credits and disbursements that are not, and were never, available to oil companies.

Reply to  Ted
October 20, 2022 7:12 pm

Any tax rate less than 100% is a subsidy.

Reply to  MarkW
October 20, 2022 10:22 pm

That is certainly the leftist view of taxation.

jeffery p
Reply to  MarkW
October 21, 2022 7:25 am

All businesses should pay the same tax rate — 0.00%

Reply to  jeffery p
October 21, 2022 10:33 am

Do you have any idea how many tax lawyers would lose their jobs if that were to happen? Not that this would be a bad thing.

Peter F Gill
October 20, 2022 11:28 am

The answer to the lead question is in many ways similar to “Did the stone age end because we ran out of stones?” The answer is we found something which we thought was better.

Reply to  Peter F Gill
October 20, 2022 10:16 pm

The Stone Age never ended – we use vastly more today than any time in history. Consider all the uses of gravel, and aggregate in concrete. Off the top of my head, about the only technology that I can think of, that has disappeared, is Whale Oil. And let us all be thankful for that.

October 20, 2022 11:54 am

Tesla stock is down about 50% from its 12 month peak
Poor performance
Tesla stock sells at almost 70x earnings
High valuation

Tesla earns tradeable government credits related to making zero-emission vehicles and clean fuel. Tesla sells those credits to other automakers, typically overseas. Tesla’s sold $1.46 billion of regulatory credits in 2021, according to its annual filing. That $1.5 billion is 27% of Tesla’s $5.5 billion net income for 2021

But those $1.5 billion of credits will shrink over time as other automakers increase their production of electric vehicles. Tesla competition is rapidly launching their own electric vehicles

Tesla reliability, per J. D. Power vehicle owner surveys, is among the worst in the industry. If other automakers introduce more reliable EV/s (it would be tough to be less reliable than Teslas), then they will gain market share.

Finally, Elon Musk used to be a “billionaire folk hero” to many leftists, but he recently has not sounded like a typical leftist. It he converts Twitter to a free speech social media company, leftist EV lo vers will think even less of him. Unlike other auto company CEOs, Elon Musk’s image is connected with the image of Tesla vehicles.

Reply to  Richard Greene
October 20, 2022 8:53 pm

“Tesla reliability, per J. D. Power vehicle owner surveys, is among the worst in the industry.” But we’ve been told by our favorite troll, absent so far in this discussion, that EVs have so many fewer moving parts than ICEVs that they don’t need anywhere near as much maintenance. It doesn’t sound like that is true if Teslas have so much lower reliability.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
October 20, 2022 10:54 pm

Of the 1000 parts that are assembled into a car, only one is the engine. Two electric motors for AWD electric vehicles. That leaves a lot of other parts that can cause problems.

I am counting each ICE engine, electric motor and transmission as one part, because when they arrive at an assembly plant, they are already assembled.

I’m not including internal ICE engine and transmission parts, nuts, bolts and screws, or the total ICE part count would be 30,000 for each car.

Last edited 5 months ago by Richard Greene
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 21, 2022 7:05 am

Careful with the JD Power surveys – when most people think of reliability they’re concerned with the drive train functioning properly, but the JD Power surveys also cover, rightfully of course, everything including lots of little things that don’t effect the useability. EV owners go on about low maintenance, and so for some owners that will outweigh fit and finish and exploding windows. I’m not pushing EVs or Teslas – they’re not the best option for most people.

Some small number of people may buy them after actually doing the math and finding that in their limited use-case it makes sense. But most Tesla owners bought them because they go like rockets.

In fact hardly anyone buys a gas vehicle based on practicality – no one can say that they need V8s or twin turbos – but of course it’s not right to interfere with their rights to own them.

October 20, 2022 12:02 pm

Ford’s Model T succeeded because it was cheap
Ford’s cheapest EV F150 Lightening is $47,000 MSRP
For’s cheapest ICE F150 is $30,000 MSRP
That’s a huge price difference.
$47,000 is far from cheap, and it does not include
the destination fee, state sales tax or any options.


But with a 49mpg 2026 model CAFE requirement,
how many ICE pickup trucks will manufacturers be able to sell?
The Ford F150 3.3-liter V6 engine can get up to 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, with a combined rate of 21 mpg. That’s a long way from 49mpg !

Gunga Din
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 20, 2022 12:33 pm

I assume what you’re pointing this out is that Government’s “49 mpg” requirement is an artificial attempt to remove the EV’s competition?
An EV pickup can not do what an ICE pickup can do.
(Extent that to military vehicles like tanks.)

Reply to  Gunga Din
October 20, 2022 10:24 pm

Just imagine all the diesel tankers will have to follow a tank formation to power all the generators that will be needed to recharge the tanks every 10 miles. Our enemies will laugh themselves to death.

Reply to  Richard Greene
October 20, 2022 12:38 pm

The current CAFE penalty is not that large.
The current penalty for failing to meet CAFE standards is $5.50 per tenth of a MPG ($55 per MPG) under the target value times the total volume of those vehicles manufactured for a given model year.

If the F150 V6 ICE got 21mpg, and the CAFE requirement was 49mpg,
then the penalty would be 28 mpg deficit x $55 or a $1,540 penalty per pickup truck, which reduces the net profit by $1,540. But what happens when the EPA increases the CAFE penalty to a higher number that auto manufacturers can’t afford to pay?

Joe Shaw
Reply to  Richard Greene
October 20, 2022 3:00 pm

Auto manufacturers don’t pay the penalty. The buyers do.

Reply to  Joe Shaw
October 20, 2022 11:07 pm

That’s not true.
Higher auto prices reduce sales.
If there was no penalty to auto manufacturers when they pass on the EPA CAFE penalty to customers — let’s say a $1500 penalty for a pickup truck — then why not just raise the price of the pickup truck by $2000, or $4000 at random.
Because any price hike will hurt sales.

The theory that corporations just pass on costs is wrong.
If corporations could really pass on costs to their customers, a hike of the corporate tax rate would never be protested. Why would corporations care if they could pass on the tax hike with no consequences?


Reply to  Richard Greene
October 21, 2022 10:08 am

49mpg is better than my motorcycle gets…

Gregory Woods
October 20, 2022 12:22 pm

 before Putin’s debauchery

What’s the problem, did Putin rape your grandmother?

jeffery p
Reply to  Gregory Woods
October 20, 2022 1:43 pm

I don’t know about Putin’s personal life and that’s not what that quote is about. Perhaps better stated as “before Putin’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine and the barbaric behavior of the Russian army…”

Reply to  jeffery p
October 20, 2022 3:34 pm

The only time Greg ever posts, is to defend Putin. Doesn’t matter whether the charge is true or not.

michael hart
Reply to  jeffery p
October 20, 2022 3:57 pm

Yes. A good article spoiled. Debauchery is not a correct use of the word to describe Putin’s actions or lifestyle.

Also, not all the world is rooting for Ukraine. Their government is just as corrupt as Russia’s. At least Russian oligarchs mostly steal from their own people. Ukrainian oligarchs have devoted themselves to stealing from their own people AND harvesting Western “aid”, while still managing to be the poorest nation in Europe.

The best that can be said abut current and past Ukrainian politicians is that Yulia Tymoshenko was probably the hottest Pri1me Minister ever in her day. That didn’t stop her from being evicted for corruption by her equally corrupt adversaries.

It’s not our civil war so why should we pay to make it worse?

Reply to  michael hart
October 20, 2022 5:54 pm

In other words, you couldn’t care less how many countries Putin invades, or how many people he kills, so long as he isn’t attacking you?

Last edited 5 months ago by MarkW
Reply to  michael hart
October 20, 2022 9:33 pm

Same thing was said before WWII and that didn’t end well 🙂

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  jeffery p
October 20, 2022 9:06 pm

More accurately, Putin was provoked by NATO. Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
October 21, 2022 10:37 am

How exactly does doing nothing, provoke a country?

The reality is that Putin does not want the countries he intends to invade, to have the ability to defend themselves.

Last edited 5 months ago by MarkW
Adrian Mann
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
October 21, 2022 1:08 pm

Even more accurately – no, he wasn’t. He wanted back territory he believes rightly belongs to Russia, or better yet, the Soviet Union, manufactured the de-Nazification rationale, and expected to roll into Kyiv within a week, everyone back home for tea and medals before Easter.

Provoked by NATO – that’s completely childish.

Bruce Cobb
October 20, 2022 12:26 pm

How about this for an analogy: Oil companies, in cahoots with governments didn’t have to kill off the whales to make way for oil. Or make snide comments about “Big Whale Oil” or “fossil fuel deniers”, or “Big Whale Knew”. Because oil was by far the superior product, and in huge supply.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 20, 2022 12:48 pm

Yes, oil as fuel was a progression based upon utility, efficiency and economy.
It was not a reversion to outmoded mechanisms like windmill blades or sunlight access devices such as glass window panes to capture a bit of transient warmth.

Robert B
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
October 20, 2022 12:50 pm

I wish Greta would use her big brain to make a battery suitable for a practical EV.

Does she need more money?

Gunga Din
October 20, 2022 12:41 pm

“Did Henry Ford’s Success Come About Because He Demanded the Execution of Horses?”
Short answer, no. He came up with an affordable more efficient means of transportation.
The market decided.
No horses were executed by the Government BEFORE the Model-T came out or after.

October 20, 2022 12:42 pm

Bicycles had a role to play

Old Man Winter
October 20, 2022 12:58 pm

The US DOE, through lackadaisical oversight, already let China get
taxpayer funded battery tech.


Canada’s Lithium Americas, whose largest shareholder is the Chinese
lithium mining giant Ganfeng Lithium, won’t guarantee that the end
product of the huge Thacker Pass lithium mine being planned will
benefit the US, despite it getting tax breaks & grants.

The Big Guy will readily overlook China’s notorious human rights
abuse & trade violations as long as he gets his 10%!


John K. Sutherland.
October 20, 2022 1:18 pm

A very good article.

October 20, 2022 1:19 pm

Good point

AGW is Not Science
October 20, 2022 1:32 pm

Musk’s Tesla is not a “success” in the traditional sense, since heaps of taxpayer funding underwrite it’s establishment. And continues to do so.

October 20, 2022 1:36 pm

Biden: “I Guarantee You We’re Going To End Fossil Fuel”

jeffery p
October 20, 2022 2:16 pm

EV owners shocked (shocked!) at battery replacement cost:


Nobody knew batteries don’t last forever?

Reply to  jeffery p
October 20, 2022 10:28 pm

#NissanKnew (and so did all the other EV manufacturers)

From 2011:

In a recent Auto Express report, Nissan UK’s vice president said the LEAF’s powertrain system consists of 48 separate lithium-ion modules, and each one would cost an owner £404 ($634) to replace – totalling £19,392 (AU$30,436) for all of them.

Reply to  jeffery p
October 21, 2022 10:11 am

The makers did, but I would bet a lot of buyers never considered they would have to replace the batteries.

October 20, 2022 2:53 pm

Ford’s Model T was able to transport 4 people and gear over rough terrain much faster than a horse could and at lower cost. It had a vehicle mass of 730kg. Had a range of 200 miles and able to use a multiple of different fuels. It could be refuelled in a minute or two.

The new BEV Rolls seats four people with gear in plush comfort and is able to travel on high standard sealed roads. It has a battery mass of 700kg and vehicle mass of 3020kg. It has a range 0f 260 miles. It requires a very high power recharging outlet and takes hours to recharge.

Therein is the problem – similar utility but 4 times the mass comprising very high energy resources. The majority of the current BEVs are behemoths. Tremendous waste of resources. Engineers designing this crap should be facing trial for crimes against humanity.

Reply to  RickWill
October 21, 2022 7:15 am

Don’t perpetuate the same nonsense as the climate fanatics. There is no crime against humanity for just owning a luxury car, gas or EV – the regular gas Rollers are huge and ridiculous too, but hey, they keep people employed.

October 20, 2022 3:58 pm

kKids 30 and younger have been brainwashed by Uncle Al and his minions… there is no going back, just the other side of it. The first step is to retake or remake education in the US.

Reply to  Wharfplank
October 20, 2022 9:03 pm

Not just the US.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
October 20, 2022 10:38 pm

I told my kids, dont rely on the schools to teach my grandkids to read, and watch very carefully what they are teaching them to think.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Wharfplank
October 24, 2022 10:29 am

I don’t get the “Uncle Al” reference. A recent cultural thing I guess.
This is the Uncle Al I watched as a kid.

October 20, 2022 5:30 pm

The only energy transition I see on the horizon is a move more and more to nuclear. We need to be sure we have plenty of fossil fuel for our chemicals, fertilizer, plastics, fabrics and most important our hot rods.

October 20, 2022 8:52 pm

I can’t imagine it would have ended well for Mr. Ford had he called for the mass execution of horses back then. People tended to be rather fond of their horses. In fact, those that do have today still tend to be rather fond of them. Much like it probably won’t end well for these people when they start to just flat out tell everyone to starve for “The Good of the Planet”(tm), as they all jet off in their private airliners to eat their filet mignon and pat themselves on the back for making all the plebs “Eet zee boogz.”.

October 20, 2022 10:13 pm

Elon Musk started building EVs at a time when global auto manufacturers said ‘that’ll never work.” The industry saw no evidence that lithium ion batteries could be packaged safely in such a way as to power a vehicle.

Judging by spontaneous combustion of EV’s, the industry was correct

Craig from Oz
October 21, 2022 12:19 am

A strange and slightly circular column.

I think the important thing to understand in life is that things exist for as long as they have a role they fill better than any other solution.

Why do things disappear? It is rarely because they are not longer good at what they do, it is that the role they fill has either been replaced or is now filled with something else.

This is a subtle point.

Let us take some examples from modern warfare, cause, why not.

The tank. Is the tank obsolete because of anti tank missiles? No. Because what is the role of the tank? It is to provide mobile firepower and protection across broken terrain.

Do armed forces still need to do these things? yes. Until there is no longer a need to fill this role there will still be tanks. Anti-tank systems exist because tanks still exist. The fact the modern ones are very effective only means that tanks need to improve protection. The role remains and the tank is – for the moment – still the most effective method.

The dive bomber? It’s role? Delivering bombs accurately to point targets. Why did they disappear? Because as engines improved it was discovered that single seat fighters could also carry decent bomb loads and it was more effective to have a multi role fighter bomber than a dedicated dive bomber. The role remains but was filled with a more effective method.

The Battleship? It’s role? To fight and win the traditional ‘fleet’ battle with big guns and big armour. Even at the end of the era the battleship was still VERY good at that role.

The problem? The big traditional fleet battle stopped happening. Aircraft allowed this not so much because aircraft could bomb ships, but because aircraft could scout for hundreds of kilometers out. So if you and your fleet want to avoid a battle you might loose, you could scout to make sure the enemy didn’t close with you. You avoided battle.

So rather than the big traditional fleet battle, naval changed to either smaller close actions with destroyers and cruisers, or series of point raids by carrier strike. Despite still being very powerful warships they lacks a pragmatic purpose. ‘Battles’ simply didn’t happen in the traditional gun v gun manner anymore.

The role disappeared and battleships had nothing pragmatic left to do.

This is the thing with the evolution of technology. New tech must either do something new (say – flying for an example) or fill an existing role in a better way. It will very rarely change just for giggles.

EV have yet to prove they will fill all the roles currently filled by ICE powered vehicles. A tech demo vehicle that zips around the city is not one that drives non-stop halfway across a country. Until they can prove they can do this (fill the role) and do so at a competitive price (fill the role more effectively than existing) then at best they will co-exist with conventional vehicles, not replace.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
October 21, 2022 10:41 am

The point which you have missed, is the EV backers demanding that the sale of ICE vehicles be banned.

Chris Foskett
October 21, 2022 1:02 am

Taking the history of the automotive transition away from horses, are EVs the equivalent of the steam car for the new technology?
Don’t worry about the shortage of materials, the research labs at Hogwarts are on the case!

October 21, 2022 2:55 am

i might manage another 20yrs -as long as im driving I will be in a normal fuel car thanks

Reply to  ozspeaksup
October 21, 2022 7:20 am

There will still be plenty of used cars – everywhere will be like Cuba with meticulously maintained gas cars running for decades – and EV-to-gas conversions when owners get the bill for replacement batteries.

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