Exxon says it won’t dabble in clean energy — too many darn subsidies

With oil prices soaring, Exxon is perfectly happy pumping and refining the black stuff, thanks. Despite persistent pressure from shareholder groups and activists, the company says it has no plans to invest in clean energies like solar and wind. You see, solar and wind are still a small sliver of the energy pie and they — gasp! — rely on federal subsidies. “It’s an uneconomic niche and our business is not built around the expectation of a bunch of subsidies to make a profit,” said Exxon’s Scott Nauman, struggling to keep a straight face. “We want a business that is robust on its own merits.” Of course, some greens point out that the oil industry gets billions in direct subsidies and tax breaks, and also benefits from externalizing the costs of its pollution onto the public, from massive public investment in roads and highways to carry oil-guzzling vehicles, from massive federal subsidies to agribusinesses that use petroleum-based fertilizers, and from a lax regulatory environment that allows automakers to delay improving fuel economy. Ah, those daffy greens.