Musk defends his companies' subsidies as tiny compared with oil and gas
industry Published: Thursday, June 4, 2015

The estimated $4.9 billion in government subsidies granted to Elon Musk's
companies isn't necessary but will speed up an energy transformation in the
country, Musk said this week.

"If I cared about subsidies, I would have entered the oil and gas
industry," said Musk, chief executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX and
chairman of SolarCity.

His companies have rapidly grown in stock value because of these subsidies,
the *Los Angeles Times* reported. The subsidies come in the form of grants,
tax breaks, factory construction, discounted loans and environmental
credits that can be sold by Tesla. Tax credits and rebates for customers of
solar panels and electric cars also help subsidize Musk's companies.

But Musk said these subsidies are fairly insignificant compared with
subsidies granted to the oil and gas industry. The International Energy
Agency reported last year that these industries receive $550 billion a year
in global subsidies. Comparatively, renewable energy receives $120 billion.

The subsidies do not account for the size of the fossil fuel and renewable
energy industries, nor do they account for the toll fossil fuels can take
on human health.

"Ultimately, humanity has no choice but to transition to renewable energy,"
Musk said. "It is just a question of when and how much damage occurs
between now and that transition" (Jerry Hirsch, *Los Angeles Times*
June 2).

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