Elon Musk and the SpaceX team being recognized by Vice President Mike Pence following the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on May 30, 2020. Stock in Musk’s company Tesla has risen steadily. PUBLIC DOMAIN

Caiying Luo is a junior majoring in mass communications.

There is no exaggeration of how many people have gotten rich off Tesla. I’m not talking about the car – Tesla’s real winners are those who invested in its stock, which has soared 3,000 percent since the pandemic. Such a situation indicates that in the eyes of Tesla’s investors, buying even one Tesla car would be foolish.

Then there are environmental considerations. You may think that Tesla’s reliance on clean energy would help reduce the climate’s increasing air pollution levels. But what would help the environment, even more, would be using your profits from owning Tesla stock to invest in wind and solar, which are far cleaner investments. They are both made out of materials that produce tons of climate-warming air pollution.

And on Tesla’s value: who doesn’t know cars depreciate after they are purchased?


Here is a fun fact: cars lose half their value when bought. Teslas are no exception. Smart money doesn’t do the fool’s errand. While people are fretting about how to get a good price for their pre-owned Teslas, the stockholders who become millionaires don’t care at all.

Investors have long loved to bet on Tesla’s owner, South African entrepreneur Elon Musk. He represents a uniquely American archetype: an immigrant who became fabulously wealthy by investing in a series of ambitious and groundbreaking technologies with the potential to remake the world.

Although he is mainly known for Tesla, Musk has long been a controversial risk-taker in other areas. He first gained attention on Wall Street in the late 1990s when he co-founded PayPal, a digital online financial services company. It was sold in 2002 to eBay for $1.5 billion in stock. Musk was the largest shareholder, raking in $175.8 million.

The bulk of Musk’s fortune — some $100 million — comes from SpaceX, which launched its own satellite internet service and began developing rockets for NASA and others. Until Tesla took off, SpaceX represented the bulk of Musk’s success and fortune.


At least on paper, Musk is currently the world’s wealthiest person, with an estimated fortune of $189 billion. He has spent a whopping $44 billion, much of it borrowed, to buy and remake Twitter. It is a huge gamble, given that Twitter has only been profitable for two of its eight years in business.

While many investors are skeptical of Musk’s purchase of Twitter, his electric car company remains dear to the hearts of smart investors for its engineering marvels. Yet not all of Musk’s ventures or investments have won the hearts of investors. Take Twitter, which is teetering on bankruptcy as its employees and investors are bolting en masse.

Teslas are not only expensive to buy, but also to maintain. Consider the cost of insurance: it costs $4,318 to insure a Tesla in New York, but only $1,675 for a Honda Civic. Think about how much Tesla stock, which has skyrocketed, you could buy with the money paid to insure your Tesla.

The environment is yet another concern. All cars are polluters, and even though Teslas run on electricity, they are still cars largely produced by oil, gas and coal. Yet a lucky Tesla stockholder could use their profits to buy or rent a house on the transit line, and not have to drive at all. And that would help save the environment.

So, if you wanted to help the environment, is it more efficient to own a Tesla car or to own the company’s stock? I think the answer to that question will be evident to you now.


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