Rival fuel makers unite in opposing Biden’s push for electric vehicles

March 1, 2022, 3:57 PM UTC

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

Renewable fuel makers and at least one oil refiner joined together in asking 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.

Soybean groups and Diamond Alternative Energy LLC, a Valero Energy Corp. subsidiary, fault 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,” they say in a 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 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.

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.

—With assistance from Jennifer A. Dlouhy.

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