Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
Cambridge gas pump warning label
Courtesy of City of Cambridge

Oil

Big Oil Woos Big Corn To Fight Off Biden EV Push

Big Oil is looking for help from Big Corn to fight President Biden’s clean energy policies and EV mandate. So far, the ethanol folks say they are not interested in lending a hand.

Big Oil is desperate. First President Joe Biden signs an executive order mandating the US government buy only electric vehicles manufactured in America for its 650,000+ transportation fleet, then S&P sends the world’s largest oil and gas companies a note telling them it will be downgrading their credit ratings in a few weeks. It wasn’t all that long ago that no one could imagine a world that doesn’t run on fossil fuels. But suddenly — like an avalanche that sweeps away everything in its path — the world changes and what was once unthinkable becomes the new norm.

Cambridge gas pump warning label

Courtesy of City of Cambridge, MA

No one at Kodak ever thought digital chips would replace film. No one at Xerox ever anticipated the fax machine. And no one at Nokia ever saw the iPhone coming. Like a deer in the headlights, Big Oil is watching the fast moving train wreck headed its way and trying everything it can think of to avoid the carnage a major market disruption will bring, even it it means cozying up to its long time rival, the ethanol industry.

Rival may not be quite the right word. Bitter enemy may better describe the relationship between the oil companies and the ethanol industry ever since Congress mandated adding ethanol to gasoline in 1988. Its use as a motor fuel exploded in the 1970s after the OPEC oil embargoes disrupted the supply of gasoline. When things got back to normal, the corn lobby prevailed on Congress (by doling out generous campaign contribution) to require all gasoline sold at gas stations contain at least 10% ethanol.

Oil companies don’t make ethanol, so that mandate automatically reduces the amount of gasoline sold each year by 10%. No wonder Big Oil and Big Corn have a tempestuous relationship. But now, the oil companies want to crawl into bed with ethanol suppliers to put a crimp in Biden’s EV plans. Their common goal is to prolong the life of the internal combustion engine era.

According to Reuters, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, an oil refining trade group, acknowledges it has been in touch with representatives of the corn and biofuel industries at the state and federal level recently to seek support for policies that will reduce the carbon intensity of transport fuels and block efforts to provide federal subsidies for electric vehicles. The goal is to offer an alternative to Biden’s EV initiative and make sure there continues to be  a market for liquid fuels like gasoline and ethanol.

AFPM says it met earlier this month with some corn and biofuel industry lobbyists and that a few of its members are hoping to host another meeting in February to delve deeper into the future of liquid fuels. “This whole idea was going to have to take a whole lot of time to gel, but we have made some progress,” Derrick Morgan, senior vice president at AFPM tells Reuters.

It’s not going to be all smooth sailing, however, for the petrofuel crowd. Geoff Cooper, head of the Renewable Fuels Association, a leading biofuel industry trade group, confirmed RFA representatives were invited to participate in the February meeting, but said his organization had not yet decided whether to attend. “We weren’t born yesterday and we’re not going to let the oil industry play us like a fiddle,” he tells Reuters. “They have a long history of pushing surrogates and proxies to the microphone to do their dirty work and we’re not interested in that.”

Jon Doggett, head of he National Corn Growers Association, tells Reuters no February meeting had been scheduled, and distanced his group from the idea of an oil-corn alliance. “I have nothing to do with any refining groups. We haven’t talked,” he says. Big Corn also wants to make sure it doesn’t put itself in direct opposition to the new administration’s plans. It wants to see the current mandate for adding 10% ethanol to gasoline remain in force. Pushing back too hard against Biden’s EV policies could jeopardize that.

The crux of the matters is the oil industry believes carbon emissions from fuel can be reduced by requiring increased octane content, thus making gasoline burn cleaner. It just so happens that ethanol is an effective octane booster. Emily Skor, head of the biofuel group Growth Energy, tells Reuters her group has no plans to collaborate with the oil industry. “It’s no surprise the oil industry all of a sudden wants to give us a bear hug. We produce lower carbon fuels. They don’t.”

Big Oil is running scared thanks to Biden’s executive order mandating an end to federal subsidies  and that’s a good thing. Just don’t expect Big Corn to bail them out of their current predicament!

 
 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica member, supporter, or ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

New Podcast: Forecasting EV Sales And EV Battery & Metal Prices — Interview with BloombergNEF's Head of Clean Power Research

Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Fossil Fuels

S&P, the global rating service, has warned many of the world's largest oil and gas companies that a downgrade of their credit status could...

Fossil Fuels

President Biden this week issued an executive order mandating the government to reduce or eliminate all subsidies for fossil fuels and make climate justice...

Uncategorized

President Biden wants the US government to buy only electric vehicles. It's a great plan but the devil will be in the details.

Cars

Before I started writing for CleanTechnica, it was always "(insert automaker name here) will crush Tesla." Mercedes, BMW, Ford, GM, or whoever. It was...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.