Rival Fuel-Makers Unite In Opposing Biden’s Electric-Car Push

Source: By Joel Rosenblatt, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Renewable fuel producers join Valero unit in court challenge EPA rule governs release of carbon dioxide from car tailpipes

The gasoline industry and alternative fuel makers, frequent foes, put aside their differences for court challenges to a Biden administration rule imposing limits on automobile greenhouse-gas emissions.

Renewable fuel advocates and at least one oil refiner joined together Monday saying they’d asked a federal appeals court in Washington to review the Environmental Protection Agency standards, which promise to boost the sale of electric vehicles and could shrink the market for liquid fuels, whether made of petroleum or plants.

Corn growers, ethanol technology company ICM Inc. and Valero Renewable Fuels Company LLC said that the rule effectively mandates the production and sale of electric cars. In their own court filing, soybean groups and Diamond Alternative Energy LLC, a Valero Energy Corp. subsidiary, faulted the EPA rule for favoring electric vehicles over renewable fuels and other technologies for reducing emissions.

“Through the final rule, EPA seeks to unilaterally alter the transportation mix in the United States, without congressional authorization and without adequately considering the vast greenhouse gas reduction benefits provided by renewable fuels,” according to the court filing.

The industry groups lodged their objections Monday, the 60-day deadline for suits targeting the regulation under the Clean Air Act.

A separate petition for review was jointly filed Monday by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative advocacy group, and a group of oil producers known as the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, which is led by billionaire Harold Hamm, founder of Continental Resources Inc.

State Coalition

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, also weighed in, saying he’s leading a coalition of 14 states challenging the same rule.

Paxton said in his statement that the regulations, if left intact, will stress the Texas electric grid and decrease the demand for gasoline by billions of gallons, “effectively destroying Texas’s robust energy industry.”

The EPA rule governs the release of carbon dioxide from the tailpipes of cars and light trucks, a mandate that was weakened by former President Donald Trump.

“EPA is trying to transform the motor vehicle market from gas-powered to electric vehicles by making gas-powered cars more expensive,” CEI attorney Devin Watkins said in the statement, arguing the rule exceeds the agency’s authority.

The rule requires fleet-wide fuel economy values of 55 miles (89 kilometers) per gallon in model year 2026, forcing automakers to pare 22.6% more carbon dioxide emissions from their fleets.

The cases are The State Soybean Associations et al v. EPA, 22-1033, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; Competitive Enterprise Institute et al v. EPA, 22-1032; American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers v. EPA, 22-1034.

— With assistance by Jennifer A Dlouhy

(Updates with corn-grower suit in third paragraph. An earlier version corrected the name of Diamond Alternative Energy.)