Why do we give oil companies such large subsidies?

How can we hold oil companies more accountable? Sima Gandhi, Senior Policy Analyst at CAP has the scoop in this “ask the expert” video:

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9 Responses to Why do we give oil companies such large subsidies?

  1. fj2 says:


  2. Chris Dudley says:

    No visual aids other than the beginning and ending titles is very effective.

  3. Jeff Huggins says:

    Bravo! (and an idea)

    I think that CAP should consider having an “offsite” meeting — presentations, discussions, serious work sessions — having to do with the oil industry and that whole aspect of the energy transition we need to make.

    I would gladly come and would enjoy sharing understanding and ideas with folks like Ms. Gandhi and others at CAP working on those areas. My suggestion for a location would be … well … why not? … Carmel! But, if people would rather be closer to some of the oil action, but still in the Bay Area, then perhaps somewhere in the Richmond-Martinez area could work … a “nice” view of the refineries and tankers. The CAP folks could visit the Bay Area. You could involve some of the Berkeley and Stanford (and other) folks. The topics could be “focused” on oil and gas, gasoline, the oil industry, and related matters. With public frustration increasing, and with more people willing to work together, I think it’s quite possible that we could actually begin to make some progress!

    There are other things for the CAP folks to do in the Bay Area too: key players in the solar industry, the geothermal industry, and etc. Worth a trip. There’s a Paul McCartney concert here on July 10.

    Time to get outa Washington!

    (Thanks for the great “ask the expert” video, Sima.)

    Be Well,


  4. mike roddy says:

    Gandhi is good, thanks.

    Other industries enjoy major subsidies too, such as timber and industrial agriculture. There is no economic justification for them, since these distortions tend to perpetuate polluting and centralized industries. It’s pure political whoredom, and if people like Rand Paul and John McCain are truly economic libertarians, they should address them.

    BP should be held responsible for all costs associated with the eruption in the Gulf. Economic studies could quantify them. There is no rational argument why this should not occur, and it would have many long term benefits, including encouraging safe practices and discouraging things like deep offshore wells and tar sands projects.

    Retention of the $75 million liability cap should be put to a straight vote in the Senate. Republicans who vote to retain it should become special targets in their reelection campaigns, and the Democrats need to turn their votes to retain the cap into a major campaign issue. Whether they do so will be more of a test for them (instead of complaining about Murkowski’s blocking voice votes) than of the Republicans.

  5. Ross Macfarlane says:

    Excellent work. We need to do more to focus on the hidden subsidies that oil companies and other fossil fuel industries benefit from. There is still far too much credence given to the prevailing view that renewable energy requires subsidies, while fossil fuels are cheap and favored by “the market”.

  6. Scott says:

    Super-majors are too big to fail… just like some Wall Street banks. We need an unwind-BP mechanism.

  7. Leif says:

    The fact remains that if Fossil Fuels just paid their fair leveled cost to society, renewable energy would NOT need to be subsidized. The reason that green needs a break is to be able to compete with significant subsidizes already enjoyed by the polluting side of the equation.

  8. Leif (7) is 100 % correct: perverse subsidies to big oil/coal are exactly why green energy is so far behind and will never get anything close to the same level of subsidies. You could argue that US economic policy (and even foreign policy) is mostly in aid of propping up big oil/coal. Not much of a free market system.

  9. Dhmeiser says:

    Excelent graphic of this is here: (PDF)