adric22
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is there an oil company conspiracy?

Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:23 pm

I am not normally the type to jump on conspiracy theories, but since we know the oil companies have done stuff like this before, we know it is not beyond them.

Whenever I see an article posted on the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt on a popular news site (such as Yahoo, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc..) the user comments below the story are usually about 99% negative. And when I say negative, I mean belligerently negative towards electric cars. Also the vast majority of the posts seem to have false information in them. We've heard many of them before, but I list some of the common cites:
  • Electric cars pollute more than gas cars.
  • Electric cars are worse on the environment from their manufacturing process
  • Don't free us from foreign imports because all the parts come from overseas.
  • When talking about the Chevy volt, people say it can "only go 40 miles and you are dead on the side of the road"
  • these cars will be all over the side of the freeways, dead, out of power.
Then there are other derogatory comments like
  • Only a homosexual would drive a car like this, a real man uses gas engine.
  • Nobody would ever buy such a piece of junk
  • These cars will sit on the lot and Nissan will go broke for making them all
  • How could you ever drive a car that could only go 100 miles? That won't take you anywhere.
  • I'll stick with my Hummer
  • Who in their right mind would pay $32,000 for a car that can only go 100 miles?
These are all paraphrases of course, but these are the only types of comments I'm seeing. And every time I post a positive comment, it never shows up. Now, I live in Texas, a state which is not overwhelmingly considered green. I've talked to hundreds of people at car shows and other public places when I bring my home-converted electric car around. True, a lot of people say the car wouldn't work for them but people are overwhelmingly in support of the technology. I've never heard anyone openly bash the idea of people who want to driving electric cars. Also I've noticed that websites like youtube seem to have a better balance of comments on videos.

So am I crazy in thinking that the oil companies have paid off the moderators on these news websites to delete all or most of the positive comments in order to make it appear that the public is not in support of these cars?

here is a recent example, but I've noticed this trend for months now:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100714/ap_ ... warranty_7

Go ahead.. look through the comments and see if you think this is balanced or not.
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mwalsh
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Re: is there an oil company conspiracy?

Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:42 pm

Speaking of media bias.....the local news last night....a story about the new Toyota/Tesla RAV4EV was followed by the story of a guy with a scratch-built EV who was complaining that he couldn't drive it to work because his bosses (the County) wouldn't let him charge it for the drive home.
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Re: is there an oil company conspiracy?

Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:09 pm

adric22 wrote:I am not normally the type to jump on conspiracy theories, but since we know the oil companies have done stuff like this before, we know it is not beyond them.

Whenever I see an article posted on the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt on a popular news site (such as Yahoo, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc..) the user comments below the story are usually about 99% negative. And when I say negative, I mean belligerently negative towards electric cars. Also the vast majority of the posts seem to have false information in them. We've heard many of them before, but I list some of the common cites:
I only read the first page, however, there seemed to be a fair balance of negative and positive comments.
The negative ones also seem to have more 'thumbs down' votes than 'thumbs up' which I think is a good indicator of what the general public tends to think of some of the obviously biased positions.

The internet is a funny thing. There are a lot of people that will be much more 'out there' than they would be in person. In addition you have the group of people that try to throw politics into everything and yet another group that simply doesn't know much and won't listen to learn.

I don't doubt at all that the oil companies, and in the past the big auto makers spread disinformation about EVs. But I think that they focused more on doing this in the main stream media. Another very successful way to spread bad information is radio talk shows as if you can find a group that is already fanatical and 'hook' into their fanaticism (i.e. The Big Government WANTS you to be driving golf carts!! etc etc) then you have pretty much won.
People that then took this bad information as gospel then spread it on comments on message boards and such (as you saw in the link you provided).

The big issue for EVs to succeed is more education, and to actually see a number of EV options on the roads. So people can see that EVs can be used for lots of different things. The Leaf will be a great solution to dispelling lots of the disinformation out there. And I really really hope Nissan is laughing all the way to the bank ;)
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adric22
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Re: is there an oil company conspiracy?

Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:08 pm

I only read the first page, however, there seemed to be a fair balance of negative and positive comments.
I can assure you this wasn't the case while the news story was active and people were actually reading it. I watched it for 2 days. Yes, now it has some positive comments on it, but if you read past the first page or two you will see they are all negative.
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evnow
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Re: is there an oil company conspiracy?

Sat Jul 17, 2010 3:23 pm

adric22 wrote:So am I crazy in thinking that the oil companies have paid off the moderators on these news websites to delete all or most of the positive comments in order to make it appear that the public is not in support of these cars?
I think oil companies (and even more than them, auto companies) were heavily anti-EV some 10 years back. I think the mood has completely changed now.

Oil companies no longer consider EVs a threat - they are more worried about their ability to sustain production. So you see oddities like BP being a partner in the EV Project - they even supported Ecotality's initial DOE proposal for a grant.

http://www.theevproject.com/partners.php

So what changed ? I think realization that Peak Oil is here.
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Re: is there an oil company conspiracy?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:24 am

I'd be very surprised if the oil companies WERE NOT paying people to post negative comments about EV articles. I know it's a pretty radical statement and I may be way off the mark here, but that's what I think.

If they can spend millions on lobbyists to influence lawmakers why not a negative publicity blitz to influence people that EV cars are foolish, inefficient and only for tree huggers. Because once EV cars are accepted by the mainstream, oil companies will without a doubt lose revenue. And that's what it's all about ... money. Comments under articles do influence many people's perceptions. Too many blindly follow the crowd and prefer to not think for themselves.

I'm not at all worried though. Now that automakers seem to be serious about producing EV's, it's only a matter of time until they're out on the streets and proving themselves. I'm pretty excited about it too.
Jim

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Re: is there an oil company conspiracy?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:25 am

The negative comments are not driven by pro-oil advocates, whether paid or not. They are driven by anti-government, anti-tax, anti-subsidy viewpoints. Whatever your political beliefs there are a significant number of people who are ideologically motivated towards what they see as free market principles and they do not want their tax dollars to go towards subsidizing some 'propeller head" electric car fantasy.

For this reason, most solar panels, batteries and associated infrastructure will be built in China, not the US.
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garygid
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Re: is there an oil company conspiracy?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:34 am

sjf...
Wow, it would be interesting to read your sources.
Or, are these just your opinions?
Thanks, Gary
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Re: is there an oil company conspiracy?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:47 am

garygid wrote:sjf...
Wow, it would be interesting to read your sources.
See the Electrification Coalition survey.

http://projectgetready.com/wp-content/u ... ng-PPT.pdf
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Re: is there an oil company conspiracy?

Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:53 am

evnow wrote:
garygid wrote:sjf...
Wow, it would be interesting to read your sources.
See the Electrification Coalition survey.

http://projectgetready.com/wp-content/u ... ng-PPT.pdf
Looking at that survey, I get worried that industry organizations like the Auto Alliance and Petroleum Institute are going to try to do to the electrification initiatives what insurance industry groups tried to do to Health care reform (which also had 2/3+ of the population supporting it before it is undermined) without comming outright against it. We can't let this get stalled, larded up with pet projects, weakened, and potentially killed. The current proposal is well thought out and focused. We need to get the Electrification Coalition's proposed legislation passed now- before the mid term elections.

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