Biofuel, fossil-fuel lobbyists join to fight electric-car incentives


Big square baler harvesting wheat straw for production of cellulosic ethanol

Big square baler harvesting wheat straw for production of cellulosic ethanol

Enlarge Photo

As the old saying goes: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

The biofuel and fossil-fuel lobbies have argued in the past over the blending of biofuels with the general fuel supply.

But now the two groups have found something they can agree on.

DON'T MISS: Sierra Club to sue EPA over failure to report on ethanol

A U.S. biofuel-lobbying group is courting the oil industry to fight subsidies for electric cars, saying they are a threat to both businesses, according to Reuters.

Biofuel and oil lobbies can work together on regulatory and other issues, Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen told the news service on the sidelines of an annual meeting last week.

"Our objectives will align more times than not," Dinneen told two oil-industry representatives on a panel at the meeting.

Oil field (Image: Flickr user johnny choura, used under CC license)

Oil field (Image: Flickr user johnny choura, used under CC license)

Enlarge Photo
Meanwhile, Chet Thompson, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers said during a presentation that lobbyists "should be working to promote the longevity of the internal-combustion engine."

His group supports the RFA and others pointing out what he describes as "inequities" in government support for electric cars, Thompson told Reuters.

Incentives, such as a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for the purchase of new electric cars, have been an important factor in the steady growth of sales.

ALSO SEE: Big energy hugely underestimates electric cars, renewable power

The biofuel and fossil-fuel lobbies may agree that such incentives are a threat to their businesses, but they have not exactly had a harmonious relationship in the past.

The two interests have fought over the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates certain quantities of biofuelsincluding ethanolbe blended with the fuel supply to supplement and displace gasoline.

Recently-confirmed Environment Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt is not expected to promote electric cars.

Pruitt is a climate-science denier who, in his previous position as Oklahoma attorney general, sued the agency he is now charged with leading multiple times over its enforcement of environmental regulations.

Yet Pruitt is also a critic of the Renewable Fuel Standard, and many other members of the Trump administration have ties to the oil industry that may make them less than enthusiastic about a policy meant to decrease oil use.

MORE: Trump supported ethanol, but his team may not; is oil the reason? (Dec 2016)

As a candidate, President Trump indicated that he supported ethanol, even while he called for expansion of domestic fossil-fuel production.

He has not made any definitive statements on the matter since taking office.

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