Koch front group is putting out misleading attack ads on electric vehicles

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Petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch, who have underwritten attacks on climate science, have launched a series of videos attacking electric vehicles.

Source: ThinkProgress
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Source: ThinkProgress
Source: ThinkProgress

Transportation recently overtook the electricity sector as the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

Not satisfied with that dubious achievement, a front group backed by petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch has launched a series of videos attacking electric vehicles.

Last month, Fueling U.S. Forward put out a heart-wrenching video about how batteries use cobalt mined by children. This week, they put out another video, claiming that taxpayers are subsidizing rich white men (yes, this is an ad from the Koch brothers) to buy Teslas.

There is a lot wrong here.

Most people can agree that children should not be mining anything. But it’s a false dichotomy to suggest that because of child labor, we shouldn’t use electric cars.

Children aren’t being put to work because of electric vehicles. Children are being put to work because of a global economic system that exploits the poor and the vulnerable.

It’s also misleading to say that because children are being exploited for one product, we should necessarily use another product.

It’s flat wrong to say, as the ad does, that electric vehicles are “more toxic to humans than average cars.”

Our collective use of fossil fuels is killing children and adults — while simultaneously driving us into an unlivable climate.

That’s why many places are quickly moving away from oil and gas-powered cars. India has said it will ban fossil fuel vehicles by 2030, while the UK announced this week that it will ban them by 2040.

These regulatory challenges to the oil industry — in addition to the massive price decline of batteries and electric vehicles, spurring an “EV revolution” — is exactly the kind of challenge Fueling U.S. Forward is trying to stymie.

The group’s second ad is equally as misleading. The Koch-funded group crows about how white men making more than $150,000 are the biggest demographic of Tesla buyers, and that Tesla buyers get thousands of dollars in subsidies.

The oil industry receives an estimated $4 billion in subsidies every year.

But if that isn’t enough to make this argument seem ridiculous, consider why the United States has decided to encourage people to buy electric vehicles: It’s a new technology that, with widespread adoption, could have massive environmental and economic benefits to the country.

When someone buys an electric vehicle — even more so if that vehicle will be charged with renewable energy — the entire community benefits from less pollution.

That can’t be said of fossil fuel extraction, which primarily benefits another set of rich, white men.

The fact that brown children and white men are the subject of these ads should also raise red flags. Fueling U.S. Forward has explicitly said it will target its message to minorities, a move that Eddie Bautista, executive director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, said was “an exploitative, sad, and borderline racist strategy.”

Fueling U.S. Forward did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: ThinkProgress. Reproduced with permission.

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  1. solarguy 2 years ago

    Once again rich morons will spend money on flogging a dead horse, when they could with their billions invest in the new technology.

    • Richard T 2 years ago

      At 81 and 77 they are too old to learn new tricks. Hopefully they won’t be around much longer. Bit mean of me perhaps.

  2. Jo 2 years ago

    These guys who complain about mining, make their money from mining!

  3. Barri Mundee 2 years ago

    Shows they are very worried about their business model. They want oil to dominate as a motor car fuel for many more years to come. They are akin to King Canute: trying to halt or at least slow what is likely to be an unstoppable tide.

    • nakedChimp 2 years ago

      King Canute was showing that something like the waves didn’t obey his absolute rule.. 😉

  4. Rob G 2 years ago

    As a person working in advertising I can tell you the most important way to sell is word of mouth. If someone gets the saving etc of EVs and trusts the friend then no amount of Koch money will change their minds. We’ve seen it in Australia, where the Murdoch press runs campaigns against Labor to little or no affect in the last election. It just takes one domino to fall to shift away from fuel cars.I expect an incoming Labor government will give them an almighty push.

    Jay Weatherill was live on Facebook a few days ago. While being coy about other Tesla plans he did say he had some big announcements to make in that space…look out SA you might be getting a giga factory or Tesla factory in the near future!? That kind of plan assumes the collapse of the petrol powered cars.

    • john 2 years ago

      Actually if SA gets a giga factory and a manufacturing EV plant as well then the marbles all come together.
      Imagine a plant building EV in Australia now why can not this happen?
      Perhaps they could start off with 1000 first year and ramp up swiftly to over 10000 or more per year.
      I would expect perhaps north of that number in no time.

      • Jodie Green 2 years ago

        Australians buy around 1 million new cars a year ? Is that right? Thats a fair market to aim for?

    • Joe 2 years ago

      On top of those recent scandals in the auto industry in Europe come the announcements of dates where Diesel is being stopped. Watch for Euro auto makers to go big on EV’s…can they ‘manipulate’ emissions data on those I wonder…ha, ha, ha. At least Australia will end importing the dirtiest cars in the near future.

    • Robin_Harrison 2 years ago

      A gigafactory would replace GMH and Bitsashitty quite nicely since they so unceremoniously left. Not before they had a decent feed at the trough with a hint they might stay.

    • lin 2 years ago

      If the Victoria had any sense, they’d be looking to encourage re-purposing of their old ff car plants into EV factories too. The rage this would induce in the Canberra LNP coal cheerleaders would be something to behold – a worthy side-effect!

    • David Mitchell 2 years ago

      I note that the Elizabeth Holden factory is closing shortly. One can only hope!

      • Joe 2 years ago

        It will reopen just you wait and see…PM Jay sorry he should be PM….Premier Jay is onto this.

  5. Sally Noel Triggell 2 years ago

    Do the Koch brothers drink coffee, eat chocolate, buy diamonds and clothes. Do they eat banana’s and too many other things to mention. Their companies cut down whole regions of forests to plant palm oil and destroy many communities with pollution from oil production and mining. To say nothing of their support for corrupt policies.

  6. MaxG 2 years ago

    I never thought an Orwellian world would become alive the way it has…

    • john 2 years ago

      It has old friend and we see it every day where a media release will be put out that is full of disingenuous information but it will be taken as truth for the general public. We have media outlets who not only use TV but also publish their information in printed media every week and this has the effect of believing that the only salvation for society is more FF and definitely stop and use of RE.

    • nakedChimp 2 years ago

      You should have lived in the eastern part of Germany before the wall came down.. I don’t know anything else than having a second thought about what the official agenda is and is not 😉

  7. Chris Fraser 2 years ago

    Why don’t the Kochs bite the bullet and invest in clean technologies ? Geez, it wouldn’t be hard for them !

    • nakedChimp 2 years ago

      It’s not monopolizable.
      The profit rates that you can generate out of FF just aren’t there.
      That’s what they try to fight.

      The next big one up is currency/money.

      • RobSa 2 years ago

        Bitcoin is functioning perfectly, as it has for almost a decade. How can it fail?

        • nakedChimp 2 years ago

          Problem #1 is that it ‘behaves’ like gold.
          It’s amount can’t adjust to the ‘GDP’ of the area it’s moving services and goods between bitcoin users.
          This means you can’t control deflation/inflation (ideally you wouldn’t want either of them).

          Problem #2 is that it has, like current fiat currencies, the lower interest bound problem.
          This means holders of bitcoin will only lend to others if they get more back (interest > 0). Once saturation sets in (interest <= 0) the currency gets scarce and is not able to move goods and services – as the ROI is not there to make it possible for the market to afford it as currency to move goods and services.

    • RobSa 2 years ago

      According to Australian Brian Fleay “Car dominated urban transport is the least justifiable use for oil.” It makes us highly dependent on oil exports from the middle east. The Kochs are pro-Israel. They just want to make sure the USA is invested in that region.

      “The Middle East is being reshaped according to the ideological aspirations of Zionists and the exigencies of a viciously-competitive energy market.” – Mike Whitney

      “As soon as a system – whether an organism or an economy – runs out of energy, it starts to disintegrate. Its survival depends on seizing new sources of fuel.” – George Monbiot

      “Oil has literally made foreign and security policy for decades. Just since the turn of this century, it has provoked the division of the Middle East after World War I; aroused Germany and Japan to extend their tentacles beyond their borders; the Arab Oil Embargo; Iran versus Iraq; the Gulf War. This is all clear.” – Bill Richardson

      • Jane Peters 2 years ago


        • RobSa 2 years ago

          Life is better without denial. Dig deep and you will find the courage.

  8. Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

    Looks like Koch & Koch is going to be disrupted in the same way as Duke & Duke (Trading Places) – outsmarted.

  9. Dennis Kavanagh 2 years ago

    I’d absolutely love to see a battery and/or EV plant set up in Australia. But I just can’t see how it would be competitive given the small local car market, export costs and the huge incentive for such plants to be set up in China which has a massive potential market and strong government EV policies.

  10. Carl Raymond S 2 years ago

    These Kochs have no desire for respect. Strange people.

  11. Ken Dyer 2 years ago

    The Kock Group can proselytyze all it likes. The reality very soon will be this – – –

  12. Radbug 2 years ago

    Another sign that the United States is fading away in the world. Beijing has decreed that EV’s will prevail in the PRC, and that is that.

  13. Miles Harding 2 years ago

    Unlike the “climate debate”, the argument is going to be difficult to sustain with sticker price not much more than every other car in the dealer’s lot.

    btw, Excellent comments here, all.

  14. Clay Suddath 2 years ago

    Since I never frequent the Koch spheres, I wasn’t liable to come upon those articles at https://fuelingusforward.com/about/ You really have to see it to believe it. Absolute pathological dementia. Thank you for sharing that with readers. It’s important to be reminded occasionally just how surrounded we are by such ignorance. They sing the praise of petroleum and all its many splendors. Hello. It’s 2017 out there. Mr President…

  15. Jane Peters 2 years ago

    It’s like they can’t heat the planet up fast enough.

  16. Jane Peters 2 years ago

    I’m in favor of electric cars as long as they are not powered by nuclear power. Because that would give us more radioactive waste.

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