The biofuel and oil industries, which were both heavily subsidized over the years, are now working together to lobby against electric vehicle incentives under the pretext that they are seeking “a level playing field”.
Their respective main lobbying groups made the announcement this week.
The new alliance is somewhat odd since the two industries have battled over the use of biofuel in gasoline for years, but now they found a common enemy: electric vehicles.
Following the recent growth of the electric vehicle market, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) have aligned their efforts to try to influence legislation in order to eliminate electric vehicle incentives.
They want a “level playing field,” said RFA President Bob Dinneen at an annual meeting this week via Reuters.
Over the years and still today, the corn/biofuel and the oil industries have been heavily subsidized both directly through tax breaks, but also indirectly through their trillion-dollar impacts on the public health and environment.
Globally, the direct financial subsidies dropped sharply by 35%, but they still represent more than double the money spent on renewable energy subsidies.
Nonetheless, they want to bring EV incentives down, which they see as “unfair”. They may find an ally in the White House since President Trump was campaigning against any federal incentive program in place to benefit the environment.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this week that he is OK with the government removing EV incentives as long as they do the same for fossil fuel subsidies. He even said that he raised the issue during a meeting with the president and other business leaders:
“It only came up briefly and my response is that I think it will be fine to get rid of incentives and subsidies. But that should be uniformly applied to all industries. It would obviously be wrong to get rid of any sort of government intervention in sustainable energy while retaining it in fossil fuels. If the principle is to get rid of government interventions, that should be uniformly applied and fairly applied.”
He said that there was no response given to his comment.
While electric vehicles still only account for a small fraction of new vehicle sales, the growth and major recent investments by automakers indicate that it is about to change. Some estimates suggest that electric vehicles could account for the majority of new car sales within the next decade.
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) obviously feel threatened by the change and it leads to odd statements like “we think we should be working to promote the longevity of the internal combustion engine,” which AFPM President Chet Thompson said this week when confirming their aligned effort with the RFA to fight EV incentives.