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Bill O’Reilly sings praises of electric cars, will it rub off on Fox News?

I’m accustomed to seeing Fox News as the enemy of electric cars, with Bill O’Reilly leading the anti-everything-sensible crusade.  For some reason he’s beginning to sound sensible about electric vehicles, and is even making arguments similar to ones I’d make when “debating” with one of his fellow Fox “News” show hosts.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Take my jaw off the floor, and smack me with a wet noodle.

This may be the Old Fox and New Fox having a debate.  Old Fox said the government shouldn’t be giving tax breaks, or investing in companies, but instead let the market fund new ideas.  But here we have Bill O’Reilly making arguments that sound like ones I’d make — anything which hurts OPEC/Putin (“the bad guys”) and cleans up the air rises high enough in desirableness that the government should provide loans and tax breaks.

Are we sure this was on Fox “News”?  Yes.. It’s directly embedded off foxnews.com at http://video.foxnews.com/v/3419826911001/the-future-of-electric-cars-in-the-us/#sp=show-clips So, yes, this was really shown on Fox News.

The points Bill O’Reilly makes are (and I’m having a hard time believing I’m typing this) interesting and spot on.   He’s saying the things we EV Fanatics have said for years

  • Clean air out the tailpipe (no tailpipe)
  • Cleaner even if accounting for power plant emissions
  • It won’t overload the electrical grid until there are zillions of EV’s
  • Invest in proper mass manufacturing (Tesla Gigafactory) and the price will come down
  • EV Adoption serves the greater good so well that it’s worth the government doing investments and incentivizing change through tax breaks

We heard it – an argument being made on Fox News that “the greater good is served” through government intervention in the marketplace.

And, that sometimes the public benefit from doing so is so great that the government should do it.

Towards the end Eric Bolling makes a clearly bogus claim (well, two bogus claims).  He did a good job of portraying so-called free market libertarian points of view, but ….  One bogus claim, that I won’t argue right now, is that “fracking and natural gas” is the relief from villains like Putin.  Hooboy, that’s a doozy, but it’s for another day.  The other bogus claim was that Wall Street, with its zillions of dollars of investment capital, should have made the loan/investment to Tesla Motors in 2009.

Hindsight gives people 20/20 vision, eh?  It’s easy to say today that a 2009 investment in Tesla would have been a fantastic deal.  But in 2009 that was hardly a foregone conclusion.

The problem with that is Big Investors are rarely willing to make long term bets on extremely risky ventures.  Especially when those ventures stand to erase the need for industries from which Big Investors already make lots of profit.

Wall Street is up to its eyeballs on Oil, Natural Gas and Coal company investments.  A large portion of the net worth of Wall Street is derived from those companies.  No, I don’t know the percentage, but I do know there is a dizzying array of companies (and stocks) dealing with every nook and cranny of the fossil fuel business.

If electric cars do manage to take off in a big way what happens to the oil companies?  Electric vehicle adoption means the oil company customer base starts to dry up, slowing down sales and income and profit for the oil companies. The obscene profits from the oil companies gives all the motive to work to stop anything that would threaten oil company profits.

This isn’t deep dark bogus conspiracy crap here like, oh, Pres. Obama is secretly gay and was born in Kenya.  This is about the fiduciary duty of Oil Company executives to ensure their companies continue to be viable, and the obvious desire of investors to ensure the flow of dividends continues.


Actually … now that Tesla Motors has proven themselves, and has a supremely excellent car on the market, Wall Street actually is ponying up investment dollars.  I don’t have numbers in front of me, but recently Tesla Motors raised a couple billion dollars from private investors and it’s clear building the Gigafactory will require even more capital.

Wall Street is making investments in Tesla Motors, today.  But would they have done so in 2009?  At that time Tesla Motors was close to bankruptcy, and huge questions hung in the balance over the company’s viability.  Such as the fact there hasn’t been a successful automotive startup in about 70 years.  The question then was “who is Elon Musk to think he could build his own electric car company when there’d been so many failures before”?

Here’s hoping that whatever it is Bill O’Reilly is smoking, that he stays with it, and that he passes some of it along to the other Fox “News” hosts.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.
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