At least 1 oil company is against Trump’s clean car rollback

Source: Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A major oil company has come out in opposition to the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era clean car rules.

In regulatory comments filed Friday, Shell Oil Co. said it opposed the rollback because it would increase planet-warming emissions.

“The proposal’s own analysis of the proposed roll backs acknowledge that the changes will increase emissions,” wrote John Reese, downstream policy and advocacy manager with Shell Oil Products U.S., a subsidiary of Shell.

“The roll back of the standards to 2020 levels will increase vehicle carbon dioxide emissions by 713 million metric tons,” he wrote. “Shell does not support this roll back in the standards.”

Reese’s comments find support in the Trump administration’s own environmental impact statement (EIS) for the car rules proposal, which acknowledges that the rollback would lead to an uptick in emissions (E&E News PM, Aug. 3).

Friday was the deadline for commenting on the Trump administration’s proposal to freeze fuel economy requirements at 2020 levels through 2026, rather than increasing their stringency each year as President Obama had envisioned.

Leading up to the deadline, other oil companies had been mum on the rollback (Greenwire, Aug. 26).

A spokeswoman for the American Petroleum Institute previously told E&E News, “We are not weighing in on this issue.” API members were similarly tight-lipped when asked for comment.

In its own comments submitted Friday, API took issue with some technical aspects of the Trump administration’s proposal, although it didn’t explicitly condemn a rollback.

Oil companies sued the Obama EPA, however, when it was setting the first car standards for model years 2012 through 2026.

Environmental groups have released several projections showing that dialing back the Obama-era car rules would fatten Big Oil’s coffers.

Nationwide, the Obama-era standards were estimated to cut oil consumption by 200 billion gallons through 2040, according to an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

And under the Trump administration’s proposal, Americans will use 20 percent more gasoline per year by 2035, according to an analysis by Energy Innovation, a San Francisco-based energy and environmental policy firm.

Exxon Mobil Corp., the largest American oil and gas company based on market value, declined to submit comments on the rollback. That’s noteworthy because the company has recently taken a flurry of steps to burnish its green image.

Exxon left the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council after a spat over climate science. Just a few months later, it joined the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative — an international climate effort aimed at reducing emissions in the oil and gas sector — and pledged to slash its methane emissions by 2025 (E&E News PM, Sept. 24).

Perhaps most significantly, Exxon has committed $1 million over two years to Americans for Carbon Dividends, which is pushing a carbon pricing plan as an offshoot of the Climate Leadership Council (Greenwire, Oct. 9).

Exxon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment yesterday.