Imported oil pays for corruption and war. Electricity pays for local jobs.
03.10.2022 - by Joel Levin
Imported oil pays for corruption and war. Electricity pays for local jobs.

We need to speak the truth. The Russian war against Ukraine is being paid for by exports of oil and gas, just like all of Putin’s previous wars. If everybody in the world drove electric vehicles and their electricity came from renewables, this war would probably not be happening. And Russia is just today’s example of oil exporters fueling wars. If there were no oil and gas exports, there would be a lot less war in the world.

But it’s not just war. Oil and gas exports fuel corruption and oligarchy too. The next time you see a $100 million mega-yacht, know that there is a pretty good chance it was paid for with oil and gas proceeds.

Electricity is locally produced and many cities produce their own power. It rarely crosses international borders and it mostly pays for local jobs. When you buy electricity, you are investing in building out the grid, renewable power generation and charging infrastructure.

This war in Ukraine is a catastrophic human tragedy. No matter how it ends, it will certainly be one of the defining events of this century. At an earlier point in my life, I lived in Ukraine for a year and I personally know many people whose lives have now been utterly upended.

The one silver lining has been the immense outpouring of love and support for the Ukrainian people from practically every corner of the world. People see what is happening and they want to help. Well, there is one more thing we can do.

I can’t tell you that there would be no more war if we stopped burning oil and gas for fuel and heat and just left it all in the ground. But I can tell you that the war-makers would have a lot less of our money to spend on war, corruption and mega-yachts. Instead, that money would be flowing to local utilities, cities, technology investment, electricians, solar installers and wind companies.

Last year, Congress did not pass the full EV funding President Biden proposed through the Build Back Better Act. If we are to invest in building our communities, rather than wars, we need the federal government to act now on advancing clean EVs.

3 comments on “Imported oil pays for corruption and war. Electricity pays for local jobs.”
  1. William Ferree says:

    Truth is that $80B number is a gross understatement of the total cost. If all US defense spending is accounted correctly, it is an annual drag of about $1T, $1,000B. Absent the need to protect the oil patch in the desert or jungle or off the coast somewhere, and to protect the ships that carry the oil, against pirates, military spending could be half or a fourth what it is. And remember, it is purely “spending,” in contrast with other uses of taxpayer money which often have a sizable “investment” component.

  2. Rob Marlowe says:

    My son has been to the sandbox twice to protect the oil lanes so that Americans can drive their 12mpg pickups and SUVs. He is why I drive a Tesla.

  3. Paul Scott says:

    This is spot on! Thank you for making the connection between oil and war. Too many innocent civilians are killed in wars for oil like the two that were fought by the U.S. in Iraq. Both wars would not have been fought if Iraq had the same amount of oil as North Korea. That’s all the evidence needed.

    According to a RAND study, U.S. taxpayers spend $80 billion every year on military protection of oil. This is not related to wars, just on-going costs of having the 5th Fleet in the Persian Gulf, ships off Columbia, and elsewhere. Taxpayers who drive on renewable electricity should not have to pay for any of these costs. All of it should be paid at the pump.

    The connection of oil to wars is direct and incontrovertible. Get off oil and we stop most of the world’s wars.

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