A look into Big Oil’s fight against electric cars

Last November, oil industry representatives huddled with conservative state lawmakers at a hotel a few blocks from the White House.

The gathering was a covert affair. Reporters were barred from the room. Attendees cast votes in secret.

The meeting was organized by the American Legislative Exchange Council, the conservative bill-writing group. A topic of discussion was the federal electric vehicle tax credit, which allows people who purchase EVs to receive up to $7,500 after filing their tax returns.

Representatives of the oil industry — including those from Marathon Petroleum Corp., the nation’s largest refiner — spoke out against the tax credit, according to people in the room. The attendees ultimately voted to support a resolution calling for Congress to scrap the popular subsidy.

The resolution was largely symbolic. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) had already introduced legislation that year to kill the EV tax credit and impose a new fee on people who drive EVs.

Still, the episode showcased the oil industry’s pushback on a key trend in the transportation sector: the rise of electrification.

Recent scientific reports have warned that greenhouse gas emissions need to be dramatically curbed if the world wants to avert the worst consequences of climate change. The reports note that EVs will play a crucial role in reducing emissions from transportation, which is now the country’s largest source of carbon dioxide.

The oil industry has an obvious financial reason to fret about these reports: EVs don’t run on gasoline, so they cut into their profits at the pump.

Barrasso reintroduced the “Fairness for Every Driver Act” last month, saying in a statement that the measure “levels the playing field for all cars across America” (E&E News PM, Feb. 6).

The oil industry has cheered the measure.

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