California Gov. Jerry Brown suggested Sunday that immediately banning all fossil fuel production in his state could lead to economic crisis and possible armed revolution.
Brown, a Democrat who has pledged to make California a hub for electric vehicles, told reporters that cutting off the oil spigots could lead to severe economic destruction. His comments contrast with his belligerent position on fossil fuels.
“Well, if we stopped the 32 million cars [and] said you can’t use oil, the whole economy would collapse,” Brown said at a climate conference in Germany in response to a question about whether California would cut off all oil production.
“You’d have a revolution. There’d be shooting in the streets — and you couldn’t do that, and no one would do that. So, what you’re saying is, stop the energy that goes into all these cars, but don’t stop the cars. And it’s not coherent,” he added.
Slowly dropping production on gas-powered vehicles is how California can help reduce the world’s carbon emission levels, he said. In short, weening the state off oil is a slow and soft airplane landing, while pulling the plug risks torpedoing economic progress.
Brown’s anti-oil push could meet speed bumps. Congress’s tax bill, for instance, could strangle the governor’s fledgling anti-oil movement before it can get off the ground.
The tax bill would zero out the Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit, a program giving a $7,500 tax credit to people who purchase Teslas and other electric vehicles. California, meanwhile, provides a $2,500 state rebate for such customers.
But the legislation, which seeks to slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent and reduce the number of income tax brackets, would likely dash Brown’s hopes of keeping the anti-gas vehicle crusade on the straight and narrow. Reports show the bill could destroy the push.
Data shows that the elimination of the tax credit could be a death knell for the budding green energy industry, especially for automakers that can’t mass produce electric vehicles at the scale necessary to replace gas guzzlers in the market. Tesla relies heavily on the credit for survival.
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