Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Should the federal government continue to subsidize big oil companies?
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, stated the following during his Apr. 30, 2011 weekly address according to a transcript available at www.whitehouse.gov:
"When oil companies are making huge profits and you’re struggling at the pump, and we’re scouring the federal budget for spending we can afford to do without, these tax giveaways aren’t right." Apr. 30, 2011 Barack Obama
Jill Stein, MD, former Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, was quoted in a Mar. 12, 2012 article "After Fukushima, Stein Calls for 100% Renewable Energy Economy," avaialble at www.jillstein.org:
"A Green president would invest in wind, solar and geothermal, emphasize efficiency and conservation, phase out nuclear power plants, and move to a carbon-free economy to deal with climate change. We would immediately end Obama’s expensive subsidies for nuclear power as well as fossil fuels, and use those funds instead to kick off a job- producing energy program based on clean, safe and renewable energy." Mar. 12, 2012 Jill Stein
Michele Bachmann, US Representative (R-MN), was quoted as stating the following at the Nov. 1, 2011 Iowa Forum according to Russell Goldman's article "Bachmann Says She Opposes Ethanol Subsidies at Iowa Forum," available at abcnews.go.com:
"I want to pull the regulatory burden back, and then I don’t think we’ll need the level of subsidies we’ve had in the past… That includes all energy. I really want to see a [level] federal playing field. We’ve seen what a disaster it is when the federal government picks winners and losers…
I fully believe all of these [energy] industries have the capacity to stand on their own.” Nov. 1, 2011 Michele Bachmann
Herman Cain, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and Chairman of Godfather's Pizza, stated the following in an article, "The Issues: Energy," on his campaign website www.hermancain.com (accessed Nov. 28, 2011):
"Subsidies on agricultural products, like ethanol-producing corn, have become a mechanism for the government to pick and choose industries it favors, while doing little to enhance our ability to harness real alternative energy resources. Instead, we must allow all forms of energy the ability to develop in a free market system.
Alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar, nuclear and hydroelectric are certainly part of the solution long term, but private industry must take the lead for true innovation to be a bigger part of our future energy needs... Let the markets decide which forms of energy fuel our cars, heat our homes and which ones will keep America working." Nov. 28, 2011 Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives (R-GA), stated the following in a Nov. 21, 2011 interview with the editorial board of the New Hampshire newspaper Union Leader, video available at C-SPAN.org:
"Everybody in big oil who hates ethanol will you give you this no subsidy argument, right. So Obama comes in at the beginning of this year and says 'lets get rid of $10-$14 billion dollars in oil exemptions.' Did you hear anybody jump up in the oil business and say 'Boy, that's exactly right? Hate those subsidies.' No, everybody's whose tried to kill ethanol on behalf of big oil, promptly jumped up and said -- and happens to be right by the way, and I'm against getting rid of these -- that they in fact apply overwhelmingly to the small independents who do all the exploration from the new fields… You've got two sources of energy fighting each other. I am for both of them." Nov. 21, 2011 Newt Gingrich
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following in a Nov. 20, 2008 interview, "Ron Paul Answers Your Questions, Part Two," available at www.freakonomics.com:
"We should start by ending subsidies for oil companies. And we should never, ever go to war to protect our perceived oil interests. If oil were allowed to rise to its natural price, there would be tremendous market incentives to find alternate sources of energy. At the same time, I can’t support government 'investment' in alternative sources either, for this is not investment at all.
Government cannot invest, it can only redistribute resources. Just look at the mess government created with ethanol. Congress decided that we needed more biofuels, and the best choice was ethanol from corn. So we subsidized corn farmers at the expense of others, and investment in other types of renewables was crowded out.
Now it turns out that corn ethanol is inefficient, and it actually takes more energy to produce the fuel than you get when you burn it." Nov. 20, 2008 Ron Paul
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, was quoted as saying the following at a Nov. 1, 2011 Iowa Forum according to the article "Candidates Contrast on Energy Subsidies at Iowa Forum" by Shushannah Walshe, available at www.abcnews.go.com:
"Federal government needs to be completely out of the energy business. Whether you are in the oil and gas business and the tax credits or whether you are in ethanol business and the renewable fuel standard or whether you are in the wind side from Washington, D.C., I do not think it is the federal government’s business to be picking winners and losers, frankly, in any of our energy sources.” Nov. 1, 2011 Rick Perry
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following during the Nov. 9, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate in Rochester, MI, hosted by CNBC and Michigan Republican Party, available at www.cnbc.com:
"[I support] an energy policy that everyone on this stage is going to agree with that says, we are going to produce energy in this country.
I'm different than many of them, that I'm going to cut all the subsidies out and let the market work, as opposed to creating incentives for different - different forms of energy that the government supports." Nov. 9, 2011 Rick Santorum