Part VI: Don’t Let the Big Oil Money Confuse You on Prop 87 – The choice we have to make

November 2, 2006

In my opinion Prop 87 is good for California and good for the country. We have an energy crisis, a climate crisis, and a terrorism crisis all of them tied to oil. We need to do something and do it now. If you agree with the discussion below (and a series of subsequent and previous posts) please email a link to this blog to ten California voters and ask them to email to ten others.As Tom Freidman put it in the New York Times: “Here’s the basic story: This Nov. 7, Californians will be asked to vote yes or no on Proposition 87, a ballot initiative that would impose a higher extraction fee on oil pumped in California. (Up to now, oil companies in California have paid a very low extraction fee compared with those in other states – a rip-off they want to keep.) The new funds raised by Prop 87, explained the San Francisco Chronicle, “would be used to finance research and development of alternative fuels in universities; education campaigns; and subsidies to consumers who buy vehicles that use alternative fuels and businesses that produce and distribute alternative fuels. … Oil companies would be taxed between 1.5 percent and 6 percent on oil production depending on the price of oil per barrel. The tax would end by 2017 or when the tax generates $4 billion, whichever occurs first.”

In one state (California) they have raised almost $100 m (the last Presidential election each candidate spent about $125 million in all 50 states!) to spread their mis-information. Money can buy a lot and they are buying it. This blog is about the choice we have to make.
We have a choice to make. A choice between:

  1. Between one in five California children having asthma and leukemia causing benzene and other volatile organics in our air and MTBE in our water or clean air.
  2. Between an energy crisis, a climate crisis and a terrorism crisis and being hostage to oil or freedom form Arab oil.
  3. Between the “bought politicians and bought endorsers” and business as usual of Big Oil or the scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs that can create an alternate renewable energy economy for our planet.
  4. Between the $142b in subsidies the oil interests have managed to influence their way to (while they criticize the few billion the alternate energy business has gotten), and the cleaner and cheaper fuel alternatives that are possible that the oil interests don’t want us to have.
  5. Between America and the world held hostage to oil and a 20% decline in global GDP Prime Minister Blair talked about recently and new jobs in the new energy economy and eventually accelerating growth.
  6. Between our planet melting down, 200 million refugees and hundreds of billions of weather related damage and fewer intense hurricanes, fewer forest fires and safer polar bears.

We can have a new rural economy, a vibrant Central Valley and an energized Silicon Valley with a Yes vote on 87. We have a choice on our future and our children’s future. Is this a Darwinian IQ test or what?

Do you think the oil interests are in a hurry to create alternatives to the fuels or help with efficiency improvements to reduce gasoline consumption? We need Prop 87 to do that.

There is a lot of confusing information out in the media on the issues. Will gas prices go up or down? Is there accountability (Yes on 87 says yes and the other guys say no) or does this create a bureaucracy (Yes on 87 says no and the other guys say Yes)?
You do have to answer the question of who you will trust. Do you believe Al Gore or the Chamber of Commerce (paid $345,000 by the oil companies to endorse them?), Bill Clinton or the Firefighters (paid over $100,000 to endorse them?), Senator Feinstein and Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, (all unpaid) or the Law Enforcement organization that I understand was paid to endorse the oilie position? Were their economists paid? Nobel Prize winning Stanford economist Prof Paul Romer says prices will not go up and he was not paid! Do you believe the oil companies and their “bought endorsers”?” Who do you trust more?

As Tom Freidman says: “Passage of Prop 87 would be huge”. Do you trust him? Vote Yes on 87!

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20 Responses to “Part VI: Don’t Let the Big Oil Money Confuse You on Prop 87 – The choice we have to make”


  1. […] I just received an email from Vinod Khosla, trying to explain Proposition 87. If you are about to vote in California, and care about cleantech, the looming energy crisis, etc. it would be a good idea to read this. […]

  2. Christopher Ireland Says:

    I saw you speak yesterday at the President’s Circle of the National Academies. You answered all the questions I had on Prop. 87. I would like to contribute if it’s not too late. Pls let me know how. thank you –christopher

  3. Vinod Khosla Says:

    Feel free to email Kristina Schake [kristina@schakeconsultinginc.com] asap or email me at vk@khoslaventures.com
    Please let us know the amount you might be willing to contribute.

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  17. Marc Says:

    It sounds like a good idea for the environment (the greater good).

    However, as a believer in the free market, I’m not sure I like the idea of the government taxing a business and using the proceeds to fund their competition. I’d rather see all businesses get treated equally and leaving it up to consumers to choose who gets support. (Yes, yes… this Prop is a form of consumer expression.)

    You could argue that this isn’t very different from taxing tobacco companies in order to fund cancer research and keep hospitals running. It’s also for the greater good and is another example, right or wrong, of the government pushing the market in the direction they think is best.

    You can be sure that robbing Peter to pay Paul will cause an increase in prices. Oil companies need to keep their profits up and if they’re paying more fees the consumer will have to make up the difference.

    The laws of supply and demand will ultimately sort out the oil industry. Oil will get more expensive to produce and alternate energy sources will rise.

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