PORTLAND — Gov. Paul LePage says the state’s high energy costs have been a deterrent to Japanese and Korean automakers and other businesses that might want to come to Maine.

LePage told business leaders at the Portland Regional Chamber’s Eggs and Issues today that Japanese and Korean automakers have been looking to expand geographically, particularly after the tsunami hit earlier this year.

But he says one consul general told him “we cannot afford your energy.”

LePage said he doesn’t oppose renewable energy but wants the most efficient and affordable energy. For now, he said natural gas represents a way to reduce reliance on heating oil.

LePage also touched on a variety of economic development issues and reiterated that he plans to introduce a bill to eliminate income taxes on retirees’ pensions.