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New Survey: Voters (Still) Find Vehicle Subsidies “Unfair”

WASHINGTON – American Energy Alliance has released the results of a nationwide survey of 1002 likely voters (margin of error, 3.1%) conducted in early June on the topic of electric vehicles. The findings include:

  • A sizable majority of voters (72%) said they did not trust the federal government to make decisions about what kinds of cars or transportation technologies should be subsidized or mandated.​​​​
  • Despite a generally positive attitude towards electric vehicles, most voters are resistant to the idea that they should pay for people to buy electric vehicles. About two-thirds (67%) of respondents thought that they should not pay for people to buy electric vehicles.
  • There is resistance to the idea that the cost of charging and other electric vehicle infrastructure should be socialized across the rate base. Almost 7 in 10 respondents (69%) indicated that electricity customers should not be forced to pay for charging stations.
  • Consistent with other research we have done, about 80% of the respondents indicated that they prefer to make their own decisions about what kinds of cars or fuels they should buy and use.
  • With respect to the CAFE mandate, most voters (51%) think that it is unfair that those who purchase larger vehicles subsidize those who purchase smaller cars, and less than (just 45%) favor the program.

Thomas J. Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance, issued the following statement: 

“It should come as no surprise that Americans continue to believe that they, not bureaucrats or the elites, should be making the decisions relevant to their lives. It is good to reaffirm that people don’t really want to pay for the toys of the rich. Those who seek to expand tax credits for electric vehicles should be aware of how the issue is viewed in the public’s eyes.”

Topline results can be viewed here.

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For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]
202.621.2947

AEA Urges Dismissal of Mayor de Blasio’s Climate ‘Shakedown’

WASHINGTON – Today, the following statement was released by Thomas J. Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance (AEA) regarding energy producers’ motion to dismiss New York City’s climate change lawsuit at a hearing before Judge John Keenen in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York:

“New York’s liberal mayor Bill de Blasio has been an enthusiastic advocate of more residential growth along New York’s waterfront while at the same time attempting to secure billions from energy companies to abate alleged damage from rising sea levels. This blatant hypocrisy isn’t even the worst part of this story. It’s obvious his shakedown of energy companies is designed to bail out a financially mismanaged city – one struggling to keep itself above troubling financial waters. De Blasio’s frivolous litigation ignores the benefits of affordable, reliable energy and should be seen as an insult to New York City’s residents, especially those who are already struggling to make ends meet.”​

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For media inquiries, please contact Erin Amsberry
[email protected]
202.621.2955
 

Who Exactly Joined the Swamp in This Example?

Joni Ernst campaigned as a stalwart conservative, loudly embracing the smaller government message of the tea party movement. She differentiated herself from her opponent by declaring she does not “believe the government should pick winners and losers in our economy” and that she is “philosophically opposed to those mandates or those subsidies that are coming from the government.” Those comments were specifically in reference to ethanol subsidies and mandates like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Yet today, Senator Ernst sings a different tune. Instead of working to get rid of all subsidies, she has decided to dive head first into the Washington swamp, vociferously objecting to even the slightest tweaks to the disaster that is the RFS. Which is why it is the height of hypocrisy for the Senator to make the comments she made today about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Earlier today, Senator Ernst described Scott Pruitt as “about as swampy as you get.” Pruitt’s apparent transgression was that he signed an extortion letter she demanded last year and now it appears that President Trump may announce a deal that supersedes that letter. Senator Ernst held EPA nominees hostage demanding a promise of protection for her special interest backers in the ethanol industry, and is now calling someone else swampy because he is trying to do his job.

Administrator Pruitt has enforced the RFS law as written, despite what whatever personal reservations he may have. Now his boss, the President, has ordered him to come up with a compromise to address some of the manifest shortcomings of the RFS, and so he is attempting to do so. There is nothing swampy about that; it is just trying to do the job he was appointed to do.

Ernst, on the other hand, is demanding not only that Pruitt ignore the direction from his boss to find a compromise, she is demanding that Pruitt stop enforcing the law as written, disregard the plain text of the RFS, and instead creatively interpret it to favor her preferred special interests in the ethanol industry.

Which of these people sounds like the swamp monster in this tiff?

Springtime in the Swamp

It’s springtime, and American families are enjoying the newfound strength in the U.S. economy to travel. As usual, gasoline prices are going up as governmental regulations require our refineries each spring to change the blend of their gasoline to meet federal edicts just at the time of increased demand. It doesn’t help that the Socialist Paradise Venezuela—with some of the largest oil supplies in the world—has been cutting oil production because their economy is imploding due to central planning.

That gives politicians a chance to demagogue about something they don’t care about, since they typically get squired around in SUVs paid for by taxpayers. The 1970s bumper sticker “Cash, Grass or Ass: Nobody Rides For Free” isn’t seen much in The Swamp, because it isn’t true.

This year, some of the biggest hypocrites are staging street theater at a gas station on Capitol Hill so close they might even walk. According to the Daily Beast, this is all part of a campaign even their staff is passing off as a “summer rite of passage.”

E&E News reports Senators Chuck Schumer, Maria Cantwell, Bob Menendez, and Ed Markey are getting together to discuss rising gas prices. This just happens to coincide with the release by President Obama’s favorite think tank….the Center for American Progress…of a “report” blaming the Trump Administration for higher gas prices. George Soros and John Podesta, who founded CAP, are apparently upset at higher gas prices.

The beauty of these four Senators griping about gasoline prices they don’t typically pay for is that all four of them have been at the forefront of opposition to making gasoline prices lower by producing more of it right here in North America.

Do they want to increase oil supplies from Alaska, so that the Alaska Pipeline can run at more than its current 25% capacity? No. They are in fact, all cosponsors of a bill to stop oil exploration in ANWR. This is one of President Trump’s signature actions, included in the bill that cut taxes for Americans, and part of his plan for U.S. energy dominance.

Do they want to increase oil supplies from Canada and North Dakota currently laying fallow due to a lack of transportation? No. They all voted against building the Keystone XL pipeline, which President Obama stopped and President Trump green-lighted.

How about our nation’s offshore regions, where huge areas haven’t been allowed to be explored since before cell phones and where under President Obama’s (and John Podesta’s) plan, 94% of the areas were off limits to oil and gas exploration? The same offshore areas where, under President Trump’s plan, 90% of the area and 98% of the estimated potential oil lies?

Here too, our Fibbing Foursome of Senators has worked overtime to stop more oil and gas production here at home, all in a bid to make gasoline more expensive for American families. When given the chance to vote on a bill to share offshore revenues with coastal states, an important step to encourage more exploration of our nation’s waters for oil and gas, they all voted No.

The truth is, these four Senators have been some of the worst offenders when it comes to making gasoline prices higher for Americans. The one thing that has been saving the U.S. is the historical increases in oil and gas production that have taken place in areas where the federal government can’t stick its nose in people’s business easily, although they’ve worked hard to fight the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing of our shale resources that make it possible, and continue to fight pipelines and regulatory relief that would lower costs for the “deplorables” they want off the roads so they can get where they’re going quicker.

Springtime in the Swamp.

Enough Is Enough: No More Special-Interest RFS Handouts

A broad, diverse, and growing chorus of voices continues to tell Washington that Enough Is Enough as politicians like Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) squabble for more special-interest handouts veiled as so-called “fixes” to the fundamentally failed Renewable Fuel Standard.

While Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the recently announcement RFS compromise struck at last week’s White House meeting a terrific decision and a win-win, we beg to differ. There’s nothing terrific about maintaining a deleterious mandate and entrenching winners and losers ever deeper.

If this issue weren’t so serious, the tired Washington theatrics and insider deal-cutting would be funny. But it is serious and we are committed to ending this harmful policy.

AEA remains laser-focused on advocating for real reform – and encouraging voters to let Washington know that the harmful RFS must be repealed (learn more here, here, here, here, here, and here).

Others – including many with whom we rarely see eye-to-eye on policy matters – agree.

Paul Driessen, a senior fellow with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, as well as Financial Post columnist Lawrence Solomon, “one of Canada’s leading environmentalists,” leveled withering critiques upon the RFS here and here.

Additional voices continue to speak out from across the political spectrum:

  • In a recent editorial, the Washington Examiner highlights the fact that “the government encourages overproduction of corn by ordering refiners to add inordinate quantities of corn ethanol to the fuel supply” as one example “of how unfree the market is.”
  • On forbes.com this week, energy expert Robert Rapier writes that the RFS “isn’t a free market. Mandating a product and then forcing consumers to subsidize it is the opposite of a free market.”
  • In the Houston Chronicle Friday, former top EPA official J. Winston Porter penned a column, reinforcing the fact that so-called RFS “fixes” “are sure to fail because they represent even more heavy-handed market interference, government action at its worst.”

Send a message to Washington and let them know: Enough Is Enough.

Ignore the Automakers’ Calls for Appeasement

Today President Trump will meet with the big U.S. automakers. The topic of discussion will be the administration’s decision to reconsider the excessive and unnecessary fuel efficiency standards imposed by the Obama administration. The American Energy Alliance has applauded that decision, and encourages the administration to see it through. The automakers themselves last year requested the exact action that the administration is undertaking. But now the automakers are planning to ask the administration to compromise with California on setting these mandates. While disappointing, this should not be surprising. U.S. automakers, so long held hostage to government mandates and subsidies, have come to identify with their captor.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFE), the official title of the U.S. fuel efficiency mandate, is one of the more outdated laws still on the books. CAFE was created back in the 1970s in response to the oil price shocks of that decade and a Malthusian fear about the world running out of oil. Whatever the initial logic of the program, recent years have shown it to be an anachronism. The U.S. is awash in oil, producing more than ever before in our history, and notwithstanding political turmoil in certain countries, there is no prospect of the world market running out of oil. American consumers similarly have shown their disdain for the CAFE program, overwhelmingly favoring trucks and SUVs as their vehicles of choice.

Given these factors, the Trump administration is absolutely right to reject the aggressive CAFE standards imposed by the prior administration. Those standards are so aggressive that they really amount to an electric vehicle production mandate, since the only way to comply is to build more electric vehicles. The automakers understandably opposed that burden, given that electric vehicles cost more to produce, generate little to no profit, and are not desired by consumers.

With relief on the horizon, at first glance it would seem odd that the automakers would now be going soft. Battered and abused by the regulatory behemoth, the automakers fear that the state of California ­­– which has a special waiver to impose more aggressive tailpipe emissions regulations, though no power over CAFE standards – will create a regulatory situation in which different rules apply in California than in other states. Thus the request to the Trump administration to compromise with California, the state that repeatedly has taken the auto industry hostage to push its aggressive, harmful regulatory agenda on the rest of the country.

This is not the auto industry’s only recent brush with appeasement of the regulatory leviathan. Just a few months ago, the CEO of GM, Mary Barra, asked Congress to expand the tax credit that subsidizes purchases of electric vehicles. The automakers have also supported state-level electric vehicle mandates, for example in Maryland, with other parties (taxpayers or electricity ratepayers) footing the bill.

Thus have the automakers, some perhaps additionally influenced by their recent time as literal wards of the state, come to identify with their captor, the government. Instead of subsisting on whatever subsidy scraps and regulatory dispensations benevolent government grants them, they should fight for their customers and for themselves.

The Trump administration should ignore the plea to soften their approach to the Obama CAFE mandate and take on the overreach of California. Americans will see the benefits in lower costs of cars and greater choice in the market. And the automakers will benefit too, even though they won’t say it out loud.

AEA Calls for Full RFS Repeal Ahead of This Week’s White House Meeting

WASHINGTON – Today, the American Energy Alliance launched a multi-state digital ad initiative urging Washington to repeal the failed Renewable Fuel Standard as special interests seek more handouts within this broken and outdated big government policy.

“For more than a decade – as our nation’s energy outlook has positively transformed thanks to free market competition and private sector ingenuity, not government’s heavy hand – American consumers, family farmers, and refiners have suffered under this economically destructive policy,” said AEA president Thomas Pyle.

As the White House holds yet another meeting this week with lawmakers over so-called RFS “fixes,” AEA urges the Trump administration and Congress to swiftly and fully repeal this harmful mandate.

“Only in Washington are additional special interest carveouts considered ‘fixes’ or ‘solutions,’” added Pyle. “Enough is enough. It’s time for Washington to finally repeal the RFS, get government out of the business of picking winners and losers, and let the free market power our energy economy forward.”

The six-figure initiative encourages voters to let Washington know that the broken RFS continues to harm American farmers, consumers, and businesses to the benefit of certain special interests. The ad will run across ten states (Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming) and Washington, D.C.

Watch the ad online HERE. Full text below.

Full text of the ad:

The Renewable Fuel Standard was supposed to help American farmers and make our country energy independent. But after ten years, consumers, family farmers, and American refiners are stuck with the bill.

Now, special interests in Washington are fighting for handouts that will make things worse.

Enough is enough.

Tell Washington to repeal the RFS. We need real reform, not more special interest handouts.

Free-Market Coalition Supports Fuel Economy Reform, Fairness for American Drivers

WASHINGTON – This afternoon the American Energy Alliance and ten co-signing organizations sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt expressing support for the joint effort to reform the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program in favor of lower costs and consumer choice.

“The entire mandate is a relic of the narrative of scarcity. The surge in American energy production has rendered it moot.  Moreover, it should be clear to everyone that decisions about what kinds of cars people buy and drive should be made by the consumers themselves, not bureaucrats in Sacramento,” said AEA President Thomas Pyle.

The text of the letter can be read below:

Dear Secretary Chao and Administrator Pruitt:

We are writing to thank you for your principled leadership on numerous issues, but most especially on federal fuel mandates, including the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards program.

As you know, the CAFE program is riven with problems. While we believe repealing the entire program is appropriate and warranted, we are pleased that the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under your leadership, are taking meaningful steps to reduce the burden and irrationality of this outdated and unnecessarily complicated mandate.

As your agencies examine the mandate and its next steps, we encourage you and your team to remain focused on the fundamental problems with the program.

Cost to consumers. According to the National Auto Dealers Association, the existing mandates would cause the price of an average vehicle to increase by $3,000 in 2025. Research from The Heritage Foundation concluded that repealing the CAFE mandate would save 2025 car buyers at least $7,200 per vehicle. Additionally, we understand that the DOT may have modeling that indicates that drivers may never recover the costs imposed by the next sequence of mandates. These significant increases in the average price of a vehicle are a hidden regressive tax on American families, pricing millions of consumers entirely out of the new car market, especially the poor.

Consumer choice. Automakers are now being forced to design vehicles not for what consumers want but for what regulators want. The fundamental question associated with this mandate is clear:  who should decide what cars and trucks  consumers should buy, consumers themselves or unelected bureaucrats in Sacramento?

Inefficiency. As originally created, Congress authorized one regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to carry out the program. Today, three different regulators — NHTSA, EPA, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) — are responsible for implementing the federal mandate under three different laws using three different standards. It is arguable that the EPA and CARB programs should not exist at all, as the EPA program is duplicative of the CAFE program, and the CARB program is preempted under federal law, which was ignored by the previous Administration.

It’s a relic. What started as a mandate in the mid-1970’s to reduce foreign imports of oil was changed by the previous Administration to an environmental mandate. Its foundational assumption — that oil is becoming scarce and needs to be rationed by the government action — has proved false. The entire mandate is a relic of the narrative of scarcity. The surge in American energy production has rendered it moot.

As a productive first step towards genuine reform of this program, we hope you will protect and enhance consumer choice to the maximum extent possible. Additionally, any actions taken as part of this mandate need to ensure that costs to consumers are minimized. Finally, we hope you will restore the program to its original legal regime as laid out by Congress.

Thank you again for your leadership on this issue. We stand ready to help you and your team in any way.

Sincerely,

Thomas Pyle, American Energy Alliance

Michael Needham, Heritage Action

Phil Kerpen, American Commitment

Rick Manning, Americans for Limited Government

Brent Wm. Gardner, Americans for Prosperity

Myron Ebell, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Mike Stenhouse, Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Dan Peterson, James Madison Institute

Paul Gessing, Rio Grande Foundation

Adam Brandon, FreedomWorks

David T. Stevenson, Caesar Rodney Institute

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform

For a PDF of the letter click here.

For more information about the CAFE mandate, click here.

Get the Facts on IRS Guidance for the Wind PTC

 

Available for download: Wind PTC IRS Fact Sheet.

For a more in-depth discussion of this important issue, read The Ever-Expanding Wind PTC at the website of the Institute for Energy Research.

The State of American Energy Is Strong

WASHINGTON – American Energy Alliance President Thomas J. Pyle has issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s State of the Union Address delivered Tuesday, January 30, 2018:

“Tonight, President Trump declared an end to the war on American energy. As promised, his administration has put American families ahead of the special interests in the “keep it in the ground” movement. This past year, his administration has begun to dismantle the failed energy policies of the previous administration and unleashed America’s natural gas, coal, and oil producers from crippling federal regulations.

“The victories for American energy this past year include the approval of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, the bold decision to withdraw the U.S. from the harmful Paris Climate Agreement, the rescinding of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and the Department of the Interior’s plan to provide full access to our taxpayer-owned offshore resources for energy production.

“While much has been accomplished, we still have more to do to free our energy markets and empower consumers and businesses to make their own energy choices. A good place to start is by reviewing and re-writing the IRS guidance for the Production Tax Credit (PTC). Though Congress has slated the credit for phase-out, lenient guidance written by the Obama Administration allows the wind industry to exploit the credit at the expense of the American people for the next decade and a half.

“The PTC is but one way in which the war on American energy is far from vanquished. Year one of the Trump presidency has been a success, but we cannot rest until there is a level the playing field for all energy sources.”