Stephen Colbert Blasted for Saying He’d Pay $15 for Gas Because He Drives a Tesla

by Allison Hambrick

Television host Stephen Colbert is facing criticism for making insensitive remarks about the cost of gas, while owning a Tesla himself.

“Since the invasion, oil prices have skyrocketed,” Colbert said on The Late Show. “Today, the average gas price in America hit an all-time record high of over $4 per gallon. Okay, that stings, but a clear conscience is worth a buck or two. I’m willing to pay $4 a gallon. Hell, I’ll pay $15 a gallon because I drive a Tesla. Take that, Putin! We’re not gonna buy our gas from a war criminal,” Colbert said. “We’re gonna buy it from the good guys, Saudi Arabia!”

Colbert made the remarks on Monday’s episode of his show. Almost immediately, fans sounded off on social media. Right now, gas prices are at their highest since 2012. Currently, the average cost of gas is at $4.17 a gallon, and it continues to climb amid the Russo-Ukrainian War.

“Americans have never seen gasoline prices this high, nor have we seen the pace of increases so fast and furious,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “That combination makes this situation all the more remarkable and intense, with crippling sanctions on Russia curbing their flow of oil, leading to the massive spike in the price of all fuels: gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and more.”

As a result, Colbert’s joke came across as insensitive. After all, paying $15 a gallon for gas is an irrational expense for the average person. Given that the owner of a Tesla doesn’t pay for gas–and Teslas are more expensive than most cars–Colbert angered some for making a joke about an issue that doesn’t fully affect him.

Stephen Colbert Criticized for Making Jokes About Cost of Gas For His Tesla

Moreover, most of them called Colbert out for being privileged. The television host makes an annual salary of $15 million per year for The Late Show. Colbert’s net worth has been estimated at $75 million. The internet accused Colbert of being out of touch with average Americans who actually have to pay higher gas prices.

One Twitter user wrote: “‘I don’t mind paying $15 a gallon, cause I drive a Tesla’ is a joke, until you realize that it really defines the disconnect between the mentality of celebrities and the people who have to drive to work everyday in a car that costs less than $50k.”

“The majority of his audience probably takes home per year less than what he paid for his Tesla,” another added.

Some came to Colbert’s defense, pointing out how he meant well. One such defender said: “I’ll gladly pay more for gas to Stop Putin’s Maniacal pursuit to Kill innocent people, take their Homes and Bomb them while trying to leave their country!”