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RFK, Jr.’s past support for higher gas prices & electric cars surfaces, old interviews show

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Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. previously expressed support for higher gas prices for consumers, which he argued would force a market shift toward electric vehicles. 

Kennedy made the argument in a number of media appearances, as well as at least one speech, going back to 2003, claiming that ending subsidies to oil companies and forcing them to cover certain costs related to oil production, would lead to gasoline costing its “true price” of up to $22 per gallon.

“The No. 1 thing we need to do as a nation, more important than the moonshot, more important than anything else, is to get off of foreign oil, whatever it takes, and I think if we had true markets, we’d spend $5.2 trillion a year on subsidies to the carbon industry, and that doesn’t include the $8 trillion that we spent on wars protecting essentially oil pipelines,” Kennedy said during an interview last year.


“If those companies were forced to internalize those costs, gasoline would cost its true price, which is about $22 a gallon, and we would be figuring out using American initiative and our industrial genius other ways to get around,” he added.

Kennedy made a similar argument during a 2016 speech at the University of California, Berkeley, telling the audience that if oil companies were “forced” to internalize costs related to the effects the industry had on nearby populations, such as healthcare costs, crop damage, acid rain damage and other pollution costs, it would, in turn, be reflected in the price of oil.

“We’d be paying $12 at the pump, and we’d be sending the correct signals to the marketplace. And the market would be saying, we need an alternative to a gasoline car because every American would say, ‘Well, it costs about 0.30 cents a mile to drive an electric car, and it costs about $4 a mile once you get to buy a gasoline car,'” he said.

“We’d very quickly transition, and you would incentivize all these people out there who are adding efficiencies to lithium-ion batteries and looking at different battery systems.”

He went on to argue that the federal government should be creating an “ecosystem” that incentivizes the most efficient technologies available and “punishes the inefficiencies of oil and coal.”


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Kennedy similarly wrote in a 2014 article for the Huffington Post that “if the oil industry had to pay the true costs of bringing its product to market, gas prices would be upwards of $12 per gallon at the pump.”

“Most Americans would be running to buy electric cars,” he wrote. “With low-cost disruptive technologies like cheap, fast and efficient electric vehicles, and solar and wind technologies poised to displace Big Oil, the industry is using its hold on the Republican Party to permanently embed itself in our economy while subverting science, American democracy, free market capitalism and our sacred belief in an ethical God.”

Kennedy appeared on CNN in 2003 and also argued then that removing subsidies for oil companies to a point where consumers would pay more at the pump would force a market reaction.

“There’s no stronger advocate for free market capitalism than myself, and I don’t think the government should be telling people what to buy or Detroit what to build. The problem is the free market has been distorted in this case,” he said. “We give $6 to $15 billion a year in direct subsidies to the oil industry. That allows big oil to artificially lower the price of gasoline to about $1.89 a gallon, as it is today.” 



“If we were paying the true price of gasoline, we’d be paying what they pay in Europe and elsewhere, $5 a gallon. Americans then would be screaming at Detroit to give us cars that get 40 miles per gallon. And Detroit would be giving us SUVs that get 40 miles per gallon.”

Kennedy was asked why automakers weren’t, at the time, already producing more electric vehicles if they could make billions by enticing consumers unhappy over gas prices, but Kennedy argued there was no demand for them at the time because the price of gas, then just under $2 on average, was “still relatively low.”

“If we go up over $2.50 a gallon, they will be making within, two or three years, 40 mile per gallon SUVs, and we’ll be buying them. And the problem is that we have a distortion in the free market that’s caused by these giant subsidies to the oil industry,” he said.

Kennedy’s campaign told Fox News Digital that “Mr. Kennedy believes the transition to clean energy must never come at the expense of those who can least afford it.”

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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