Federal EV tax credit: unnecessary, inefficient, unpopular, costly, and unfair

In April, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the Drive America Forward Act, a bill that would expand the tax credit for new plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) by allowing an additional 400,000 vehicles per manufacturer to be eligible for a credit of up to $7,000. Currently, the tax credit is worth up to$7,500 until a manufacturer sells more than 200,000 vehicles. In late September, groups that stand to benefit from the extension of the federal tax credits wrote to Senator McConnell and other leaders in Congress, encouraging them to support on the Drive America Forward Act. As IER has documented in the past, lawmakers should not extend the EV tax credit as the policy is unnecessary, inefficient, unpopular, costly, and unfair.

Unnecessary and inefficient

The EV tax credit is not necessary to support an electric vehicle market in the U.S. as one group estimates that 70 percent of EV owners would have purchased their vehicle without receiving a subsidy, which is reasonable seeing as 78 percent of credits go to households making more than $100,000 a year.  Furthermore, the federal tax credit overlaps with a number of other government privileges for EVs, including:

  • State rebates and/or other favors (reduced registration fees, carpool-lane access, etc.) in California, as well as in 44 other states and the District of Columbia.
  • Tax credits for infrastructure investment, a federal program that began in 2005 and, after six extensions, expired in 2017.
  • Federal R&D for “sustainable transportation,” mainly to reduce battery costs, averaging almost $700 million per year.
  • Credit for EV sales for automakers to meet their corporate fuel economy (CAFE) obligations.
  • Mandates in California and a dozen other states for automakers to sell Zero-Emission Vehicles—a quota in addition to subsidies.

Even if the federal tax credits were needed to support demand for EVs, the extension of the tax credit would be an absurdly inefficient means of achieving the stated goal of the policy, which is ostensibly to lower carbon emissions. The Manhattan Institute found that electric vehicles will reduce energy-related U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by less than 1 percent by 2050.

Unpopular

Lawmakers should be aware that the vast majority of people do not support subsidizing electric vehicle purchases. The American Energy Alliance recently released the results of surveys that examine the sentiments of likely voters about tax credits for electric vehicles. The surveys were administered to 800 likely voters statewide in each of three states (ME, MI and ND). The margin of error for the results in each state is 3.5 percent.

The findings include:

  • Voters don’t think they should pay for other people’s car purchases. In every state, overwhelming majorities (70 percent or more) said that while electric cars might be a good choice for some, those purchases should not be paid for by other consumers.
  • As always, few voters (less than 1/5 in all three states) trust the federal government to make decisions about what kinds of cars should be subsidized or mandated.
  • Voters’ sentiments about paying for others’ electric vehicles are especially sharp when they learn that those who purchase electric vehicles are, for the most part, wealthy and/or from California.
  • There is almost no willingness to pay for electric vehicle car purchases. When asked how much they would be willing to pay each year to support the purchase of electric vehicles by other consumers, the most popular answer in each state (by 70 percent or more) was “nothing.”

The full details of the survey can be found here.

Costly and unfair

Most importantly, an extension of the federal EV tax credit is unfair as the policy concentrates and directs benefits to wealthy individuals that are predominantly located in one geographic area, namely California. A breakdown of each state’s share of the EV tax credit is displayed in the map below:

In 2018, over 46 percent of new electric vehicle sales were made in California alone. Given that California represents only about 12 percent of the U.S. car market, this disparity means that the other 49 states are subsidizing expensive cars for Californians.  However, in order to understand the full extent of the benefits that people in California are receiving, some further explanation is in order.

When governments enact tax credit programs that favor special businesses without reducing spending, the overall impact is parallel to a direct subsidy as the costs of covering the tax liability shift to the American taxpayer or are subsumed in the national debt (future taxpayers). California offers a number of additional incentives on top of the federal tax credit for electric vehicles that are also driving demand for EVs in the state. These incentives include an additional purchase rebate of up to $7,000 through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, privileged access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and significant public spending on the infrastructure needed to support EVs. Therefore, the additional incentives that California (and other states) offer to promote EVs have broader impacts as these policies incentivize more people to make use of the federal tax credit, passing their costs on to American taxpayers. In other words, you’re not avoiding the costs of California’s EV policies by not living in California.

This problem is made even worse when we consider the impact of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulations, which require manufacturers to offer for sale specific numbers of zero-emission vehicles. As recently as 2017, auto producers have been producing EVs at a loss in order to meet these standards, and they have been passing the costs on to their other consumers. This was made apparent in 2015 by Bob Lutz, the former Executive Vice President of Chrysler and former Vice-Chairman of GM, said:

“I don’t know if anybody noticed, but full-size sport-utilities used to be — just a few years ago used to be $42,000, all in, fully equipped. You can’t touch a Chevy Tahoe for under about $65,000 now. Yukons are in the $70,000. The Escalade comfortably hits $100,000. Three or four years ago they were about $60,000. What this is, is companies trying to recover what they’re losing at the other end with what I call compliance vehicles, which are Chevy Volts, Bolts, plug-in Cadillacs and fuel cell vehicles.”

Fiat Chrysler paid $600 million for ZEV compliance credits in 2015 (plus an unknown amount of losses on their EV sales), and sold 2.2 million vehicles, indicating Fiat Chrysler internal combustion engine (ICE) buyers paid a hidden tax of approximately $272 per vehicle to subsidize wealthy EV byers. ICE buyers were 99.3 percent of U.S. vehicle purchases in 2015. So, even if half the credits purchased were for hybrids, each EV sold in 2015 was subsidized by more than $13,000 in ZEV credit sales, in addition to all of the other federal, state, and local subsidies.

As is typical with most policies that benefit a politically privileged group, the plan to extend the federal tax credit program comes with tremendous costs, which are likely being compounded by people abusing the policy.  One estimate found that the overall costs of the Drive America Forward Act would be roughly $15.7 billion over 10 years and would range from $23,000 to $33,900 for each additional EV purchase under the expanded tax credit. Seeing as the costs of monitoring and enforcing the eligibility requirements of the EV tax credit program are not zero, it should surprise no one that the program has been abused as it has recently come to light that thousands of auto buyers may have improperly claimed more than $70 million in tax credits for purchases of new plug-in EVs. Finally, additional concerns arise over the equity of the federal EV tax credit due to the fact that half of EV tax credits are claimed by corporations, not individuals

End this charade

When the tax credit was first adopted, politicians assured us that the purpose of the program was to help launch the EV market in the U.S. and that the tax credit would remain capped at the current limit of 200,000 vehicles. At that time, we warned that once this program was in place, politicians would continue to extend the cap in order to appease the demands of manufacturers and other political constituencies that were created by the program. A decade later, we find ourselves in that exact situation. At this point, it should be clear that Congress should not expand the federal EV tax credit as the program is nothing more than an extension of special privileges to wealthy individuals and corporations that are mostly located in California. If Congress can’t find the courage to put an end to such an unfair and inefficient policy, President Trump should not hesitate to veto any legislation that extends the federal EV tax credit, as doing so would be consistent with his approach to other energy issues such as CAFE reform.


AEA to Senate: Highway Bill is Highway Robbery

WASHINGTON DC (July 30, 2019) – Today, Thomas Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance, issued a letter to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso highlighting concerns about the recently introduced America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act. Included in the legislation is an unjustified, $1 billion handout to special interests in the form of charging stations for electric vehicles.  AEA maintains that provisions like this are nearly impossible to reverse in the future and create a regressive, unnecessary, and duplicative giveaway program to the wealthiest vehicle owners in the United States. 
 
Read the text of the letter below:
 

Chairman Barrasso,

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is scheduled to consider the reauthorization of the highway bill and the Highway Trust Fund today.  At least some part of this consideration will include provisions that provide for $1 billion in federal grants for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.  This is among $10 billion in new spending included in a “climate change” subtitle.  All of this new spending is to be siphoned away from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), meant to provide funding for the construction and maintenance of our nation’s roads and bridges.  The HTF already consistently runs out of money, a situation that will only be exacerbated by these new spending programs.

We oppose this new federal program for EV infrastructure for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to the following:

  • The grant program, once established in the HTF, will never be removed.  Our experience with other, non-highway spending in the trust fund (transit, bicycles, etc.) is that once it is given access to the trust fund, the access is never revoked.  Our nation’s highway infrastructure already rates poorly in significant part due to the diversion of highway funds to non-highway spending.
  • As we have noted elsewhere, federal support for electric vehicles provides economic advantages to upper income individuals at the expense of those in middle and lower income quintiles.  This grant program would exacerbate that problem.
  • This program will result in taxpayers in States with few electric vehicles or little desire for electric vehicles having their tax dollars redirected from the roads they actually use to subsidize electric vehicle owners in States like California and New York.
  • This program is duplicative.  There is already a loan program within DOE that allows companies and States to get taxpayer dollars to subsidize wealthy electric vehicle owners.

For these and other reasons, we oppose the provisions that would create a regressive, unnecessary, and duplicative giveaway program to wealthy, mostly coastal electric vehicle owners.  This giveaway not only redirects taxpayer money from the many States to the few, in looting the Highway Trust Fund it also leaves those many States, including Wyoming, with less money to maintain their own extensive road networks.


Sincerely,

Thomas J. Pyle

Key Vote NO on H.R. 2

The American Energy Alliance urges all members to opposed H.R. 2 the Moving Forward Act.

This legislation is not good faith effort to advance transportation policy.  Rather the legislation seeks to hijack the required surface transportation reauthorization process to attach a slew of extraneous green provisions drawn from the unworkable Green New Deal.  This mirrors the equally shameless effort from earlier this year to hijack the coronavirus relief legislation to advance many of the same green provisions that have been attached to H.R. 2.

The various wasteful subsidies and handouts packed into this $1.5 trillion legislation are bad policy in of themselves, but jeopardizing the passage of a transportation reauthorization in an attempt to spread these special interest handouts around is irresponsible.  This legislation cannot pass the Senate, which makes it merely a signaling exercise, hardly what is needed during the uncertain economic times the country is facing.

The House should return to the drawing board and work through the normal bipartisan transportation reauthorization process.  Perhaps that can happen once this signaling bill goes nowhere.

The AEA urges all members to support free markets and affordable energy by voting NO on H.R. 2.  AEA will include this vote in its American Energy Scorecard.

Democrats $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Kicks Bipartisanship and Common Sense to the Curb

H.R. 2 has lost its way becoming the latest vehicle for Green New Deal policies

WASHINGTON DC (June 30, 2020) – Today, the American Energy Alliance (AEA) voiced its opposition to H.R. 2, the “Moving Forward Act”, a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package currently under consideration before the U.S. House of Representatives. What traditionally serves as a bipartisan effort for highway funding has taken a wrong turn and morphed into a limousine of green goodies focused more on moving special interests forward than improving America’s infrastructure.

AEA pointed to public opinion polling confirming that climate change remains at the bottom with voters in respect to both priority, and willingness to pay, voicing concern for the economy over everything else – especially during uncertain times created by the spread of COVID-19. Yet efforts to prop up expensive, failing products and energy sources with subsidies for electric vehicles (EV), windmills and solar panels, continue to be added in. It is clear that Democrats will look to whatever vehicle is before them to push Green New Deal proposals.

AEA continues to oppose EV and renewable energy tax extender and expansions which only benefit the wealthiest and the rent-seeking industries who swear they’re economic while continuing to demand access to taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ wallets. The organization has repeatedly reminded lawmakers that 78.7 percent of the EV tax credits went to households with an adjusted gross income of $100,000 or higher, and more than half went to households with an adjusted gross income of more than $200,000. Additional polling shows that a majority of Americans don’t believe taxpayer money should go towards paying for other peoples’ cars. Voters’ sentiments against paying for other’s electric vehicles especially sharpen when they learn nearly 50 percent of all subsidies are going to California.

Democrats have also shared no mechanism (or explanation) as to how to pay for the $1.5 trillion bill.

AEA will use its Energy Scorecard to highlight those that vote for this misguided plan, and if ever passed by the U.S. Senate, recommends a veto from President Trump.

Kenny Stein, Director of Policy and Federal Affairs for the American Energy Alliance, released the following statement against H.R. 2:

“With the spread of COVID-19, is now the time for $100 billion in mass transit? Or $75 billion for the first phase of the Green New Deal? Or unnecessary tax extenders for failed products and inadequate energy sources? Once again, Democrats have signaled how desperate they are to reward the extreme green left for their loyalty by prioritizing giveaways for special interest over citizen’s needs.”

“American voters are concerned with the economy right now, not the Green New Deal. H.R. 2 lost its way from the beginning when it shut out one side from contributing recommendations on how to support and improve America’s infrastructure and shows that Democrats are out of touch with working people and the economy.”

Additional Resources


For media inquiries please contact:

JON HAUBERT | 303.396.5996

Pushing the Green New Deal (Fox News Alert!)

“To fully address the threat of climate change and move towards the goal of global net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the United States should advance specific policies and champion collaborative initiatives….” American Conservation Coalition—Campus

Fox News viewers are being subjected to a slick advertising campaign by the American Conservation Coalition–Campus (ACCC), a group “giving conservatives on campus a voice on the environment.” 

“We work with existing groups on campus to promote a free-market approach to clean energy and conservation,” their pitch goes. “By working with elected officials and activists, our student leaders are working to change the narrative on conservative environmentalism and facilitating important dialogue on critical environmental issues.”

Conservative? As in rejecting climate alarmism and Malthusianism in favor of sound science, humanism, and policy realism?

Conservation? As in market conservation—or government conservationism via energy taxes and mandates?

Free market? As in rejecting carbon taxes and special subsidies to politically correct energies? In reducing, not expanding, existing government intervention?

Clean energy? As in natural gas, reformulated gasoline, and clean coal? As in infrastructure minimalism from dense, storable, portable mineral energies—not infrastructure maximalism from industrial wind turbines, solar arrays, EV batteries, and biofuels?

Exactly not. The whole idea of ACCC is to assume, not debate, climate alarmism and the need to phase down-and-out carbon-based energies. Yet natural gas, oil, and coal are the very energies that consumers naturally choose—and taxpayers do not need to subsidize.

ACCC, which intends to “move towards the goal of global net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” is promoting the message of the Democratic Left, the climate platform of Joe Biden and the yet-to-be-selected Green Party candidate, as opposed to the freedom-forward platforms of Donald Trump and of Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen. It is energy statism versus energy freedom. 

True conservatives, including students involved in this organization, should check their premises and debate these questions.

  1. What are the areas of unsettled climate science and exaggerated climate alarm?
  2. What are the benefits of carbon dioxide for the ecosystem, as documented by the CO2 Coalition?
  3. What is the temperature (and sea level) effect of a given level of a U.S. carbon tax?
  4. What are the environmental problems of industrial wind turbines, solar arrays, biomass, biofuels, and large-scale battery production?
  5. How does “government failure” and “analytic failure” compare to the alleged “market failure” of free-market energy decision-making?
  6. Will the climate/energy crusade end in eco-fascism?

To ask these questions is to turn the whole mission of the American Conservative Coalition–Campus on its head. One can only hope for open student inquiry and activism of a different kind.

Key Vote NO on H.R. 1957

The American Energy Alliance urges all Senators to vote NO on H.R. 1957 as amended with the text of the Great American Outdoors Act.  The federal government already owns far more land than it can adequately manage, which is part of the reason for the large maintenance backlog this bill tries to address.  However, the Land and Water Conservation Fund is simply a vehicle for buying up even more land for the federal government to mismanage.

By buying up land, the federal government hems in and impoverishes local rural communities by removing taxable land and limiting space for economic activity.  Land procured through the LWCF that is later placed off limits to development further harms the local communities as well as harming the larger economy.  While the LWCF itself is questionable policy, at least the current structure of the fund allows for congressional input into the land acquisition process through appropriations.  Making LWCF funding permanent removes this last Congressional check on federal land acquisition.  Permanent funding of the LWCF should be opposed.

The AEA urges all members to support free markets and affordable energy by voting NO on H.R. 1957 as amended with the Great American Outdoors Act.  AEA will include this vote in its American Energy Scorecard.

AEA Joins Coalition to Stop the Federal Land Grab

Senators are holding our national parks hostage for an unpopular federal land grab. President Trump should insist that the LWCF not be made permanent.

WASHINGTON DC (June 9, 2020) – Today, the American Energy Alliance joined a diverse coalition in opposition to Title II of the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422) which would make permanent the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF.) The Senate voted to proceed with debate last night on the measure, which would – in part – divert revenues from oil and gas production on federal lands to address the maintenance backlog of our national parks.

It should stop there.

AEA objects to Title II of this measure, which would create in law a permanent diversion of $900 million per year of even more federal oil and gas revenues towards the purchase of new lands to be added to the federal estate. AEA urges Senators to fix the bill before final passage and will use it’s Energy Scorecard to highlight those that voted for this bill in its current, flawed form.

Since its original passage in 1965, four federal land agencies have spent $11.4 billion to acquire over 5 million acres of private land, and state and local governments have acquired over 2.6 million acres. S. 3422 would roughly triple spending on land acquisition over average historic appropriation levels. The fact is that the federal government already owns far too much land – approximately 640 million acres or 28% of total U.S. acreage. The federal government owns more than half the land in the eleven western states and Alaska. More than 90% of the land in a number of Western counties is federally owned and more than 75% in many more counties.

Thomas Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance, released the following statement:

“Our national parks are indeed a treasure, but they shouldn’t be used as trade bait by Democrats and Republicans who seek to take even more land out of private ownership. The federal government already owns too much land. Making permanent a diversion of nearly a billion dollars per year of federal oil and gas revenues towards the purchase of even more land will only make at harder to manage the lands the government already owns. And it will make it easier for special interests – like the green left – to lock them up from multiple uses including ranching, mining, pipelines, transmission rights of way, and other forms of energy production.”

“My message to Senators is this: start by taking care of the lands already in your control. This flawed legislation must be amended to protect taxpayers from an ever expanding federal estate. We will score against final passage of the Great American Outdoors Act should it pass the Senate in its current form.”

Additional Resources


For media inquiries please contact:
JON HAUBERT | 303.396.5996

Green Government Goliath

The climate radicals are upping the ante on puppet Joe Biden. The latest is a push by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for Joe to embrace spending up to $16 trillion in the name of averting a climate crisis and going fossil-fuel-free. 

Bold. Ambitious. Transformative describe the DNC’s Green New Deal plan.

In poker, they say it is only money. But in this case, it is serious money that would necessitate serious tax hikes and a regulatory apparatus not seen since the Jimmy Carter energy years.

The 12-person DNC Council on the Environment and Climate Crisis, (DNC-CECC) formed in February, has leftt Biden’s original $1.7 trillion climate/energy plan in the dust. Bernie Sanders and Jay Inslee were in the $16 trillion ballpark, and now Joe is the target.

The fine print of the DNC-CECC proposal is scary. End federal permitting for fossil-fuel projects; eliminate natural gas and oil in new buildings by 2025; phase out new gasoline or diesel vehicles by 2030. 

Here is the language:

“Develop and implement a science-based national climate action plan that employs the full palette of policy tools, including aggressive use of executive actions, establishment of new structures and practices, and bold legislation. 

• Commit to ambitious short- and long-term emissions and renewable energy targets: near-zero emissions by 2040; 100% clean renewable energy by 2030 in electricity generation, buildings, and transportation; and 100% zero-carbon new building infrastructure by 2025.

• Commit to the spending necessary to address the climate emergency: $10-$16 trillion in federal expenditures over the next decade. “

Then comes environmental justice:

“Put communities and working families above fossil fuel corporations by ensuring a just transition and building a green economy with millions of new, family-sustaining jobs. 

• Establish a federal Just Transition Task Force to develop a program supporting communities and workers impacted by the climate crisis and the transition to renewables, and fund the program.

• Direct massive investments to renewable energy infrastructure, creating millions of jobs, and end all incentives and subsidies of the fossil fuel industry, including passing the ReWIND Act.

• Shift subsidies and federal procurement policies to support the growth of sustainable, regenerative agriculture powered by 100% clean energy. n Support the growth of healthy, just, sustainable green communities and address the disproportionate environmental and climate harms to frontline and vulnerable communities.

• Elevate the EPA to a federal department; make the EPA Office of Environmental Justice permanent.

• Use health impact assessments and climate equity screenings for major federal government actions. se health impact assessments and climate equity screenings for major federal government actions.

• Direct 40% of climate and environment investments to frontline and vulnerable communities.

• Rescind Trump-era rollbacks on environmental protections. rotect 30% of all U.S. lands and oceans by 2030 and 50% by 2050.”

In light of the above, Biden is expected to release his updated climate plan in the next weeks. The presumptive nominee has a big problem: consumers are choosing fossil fuels, and wind, solar, and biomass have their own set of controversies. Swing states such as Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, like and benefit from their oil and gas industries. West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Illinois like their coal producers too.

The grand $16 trillion is a billboard marquee about how uneconomic and impractical the Green New Deal is. Expect voters to notice.

AEA Applauds EPA’s Final Rule to Fix Governor Cuomo’s Muddying of the Clean Water Act

EPA left with no choice but to curb misuse of Section 401 certification.

WASHINGTON DC (June 2, 2020) – Today, the American Energy Alliance announced its support for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their effort to help break the logjam of overdue energy infrastructure projects across the U.S.

The EPA has released a final rule that will increase the transparency and efficiency of the Clean Water Act Section 401 (Section 401) certification process in order to promote the timely review of infrastructure projects while continuing to ensure that Americans have clean water for drinking and recreation. The rule was finalized pursuant to the direction of Executive Order 13868, “Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth.”

Despite a history of maintaining a strong, energy-reliant economy – all while maintaining a stellar environmental track record – extreme, deep-pocketed organizations continue to misuse environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act as a litigation strategy to stop traditional energy projects. Unfortunately, some governors have also misused Section 401 as a means to favor specific energy interests and punish others.

In response to the issuing of the final rule, Thomas Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance, released the following statement:

“President Trump and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler were left with no choice but to respond to the blatant misuse of the Clean Water Act by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and others. Activist judges and environmental extremists continue to misuse the legal system to prevent the safe and responsible production and transportation of America’s energy. Today’s announcement will limit at least one of the weapons being used to abuse our legal system.”

“The Keep it in the Ground movement has failed time after time to prevent our boundless supplies of natural gas, oil, and coal from being used to power the economy and lift millions out of energy poverty around the world. So instead, they shifted their strategy to abusing environmental laws like the Clean Water Act to keep these resources from moving around via pipeline and other modes of transportation.”

“If the greens think the nation’s environmental laws are no longer working for them, they should urge Congress to change them. In the meantime, the EPA’s final rule will help restore the Clean Water Act as originally intended and rein in governors like Andrew Cuomo who have systematically abused the permitting process at the behest of big donors and green activists.”

Additional Resources:


For media inquiries please contact:
JON HAUBERT | 303.396.5996

American Voters Concerned about Economy, Not Climate

Climate change remains at the bottom
 with respect to both priorities and willingness to pay.

WASHINGTON DC (May 27, 2020) – Today, the American Energy Alliance, America’s premier energy think tank, recently partnered with MWR Strategies to field a nationwide survey of 1000 likely voters (margin of error 3.1%).  We have attached the topline results.

AEA President Tom Pyle said this about the survey results

“Consistent with our research over a decade or more, respondents place no priority on climate change.  To the extent they do imagine there is a problem, they have no confidence in ability of the federal government to solve it.  More importantly, there is even less willingness to pay for anything to address climate change than there had been previously.”

“The bottom line is that if our current experience with the coronavirus and government’s response to it has changed any sentiments towards climate change, it has deteriorated voters’ concern about climate change and their willingness to pay for any of the schemes ostensibly designed to ‘solve’ the problem,”

Results included:

  • When we have asked respondents to identify the most and second most pressing issue facing the United States across the years, climate change is almost invariably last on the list.  In this survey, we split the sample and offered both a list of possible responses that we read, as well as simply asking people to identify what they thought the most pressing issue is.  In both instances, climate change was at the bottom of the list.”
  • The data tells a pretty clear story.  Despite 30 years of effort of steady drumbeat by the alarmists, a little less than one in five (19%) identified global warming as a crisis.
  • Consistent with previous research (again), few voters are looking for the government to solve the problem.  More than half of voters believe that innovators and entrepreneurs (34%) or consumer demand (19%) are more likely to solve the problem than government action (28%).
  • One departure from previous research appeared in willingness to pay.  When asked how much they would be willing to pay each year to address global warming, the median answer (which had been trending towards 50 dollars for a number of years) was 20 dollars, with 32% of respondents answering “zero”.
  • Finally, even though respondents were evenly split on the wisdom of a federal tax on carbon dioxide (44% oppose/43% favor), a sizable majority (68%) do not trust the federal government to spend from such a tax wisely.

The full survey and results can be read here.


For media inquiries please contact: 

JON HAUBERT  |  303.396.5996 |  [email protected]

Coalition Cautions Oil Tariffs Would Harm Economic Recovery, Detract from America’s Energy Dominance

23 free-market organizations send letter to President Trump cautioning that oil tariffs would spark global retaliation, damage domestic industries and raise prices for American families.

WASHINGTON DC (May 20, 2020) – Today, a coalition of twenty-three free market, small business, and consumer groups joined the American Energy Alliance (AEA) in cautioning President Trump from enacting tariffs on imported crude oil as a means to help the hobbled oil and gas industry.

Thanks in large part to hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling and America’s prolific oil shale deposits, in 2019, U.S. energy production was higher than energy consumption for the first time in 62 years, thus attaining the long-held goal of “energy independence” attempted by every presidential administration since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

However, this does not mean the U.S. does not import crude oil. America’s oil refineries are not designed to take the oil grades currently being produced by U.S. shale fields. Tariffs on imported oil would increase costs for refiners while doing nothing to increase their use of U.S. shale oil. These higher costs would then raise gas prices at the pump, harming our nation’s refiners and raising energy prices for American businesses and families during these already challenging economic times. Unfortunately, tariffs would also harm U.S. exports because any U.S. tariffs would invite retaliation from our global competitors.

Thomas Pyle, President for the American Energy Alliance, made the following statement along with the release of this letter:

“These are certainly challenging times for the oil and gas industry, but fortunately the worst may be behind us. Our coalition applauds President Trump for his leadership and for resisting the temptation to intervene in energy markets. The President must continue to refuse the call by some to impose tariffs on imported oil.”

“Tariffs would unquestionably do more harm than good for everybody. Without government intervention, we’ve already begun to see markets correct themselves and show signs of an upward trend. Enacting a tariff on crude oil imports would likely launch a global retaliation and diminish the President’s incredible pro-energy, pro-consumer record. The best solution for U.S. oil and gas producers is reopening the economy in a safe and responsible manner.”


A text version of the letter is below.

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you for your leadership in this most challenging time. As you take steps to restore the economy, we write to express our concern about a misguided policy response being pushed from some quarters. Tariffs on imported oil would damage domestic industries and consumers while harming American global energy dominance.

We applaud your overall approach to energy policy. Your administration’s leasing and regulatory policies have helped increase domestic production and strengthened America’s foreign policy hand. The leasing on federal lands and waters that the administration has undertaken, and continues to undertake, will boost domestic production for many years to come, increasing American energy dominance and creating jobs. Oil tariffs, on the other hand, are the action of a weak energy country, and weak energy policy. The U.S. energy industry draws strength from its global competitiveness and U.S. consumers and employees benefit from our strong domestic refining capacity.

United States refiners are plugged into global markets. They use varying mixes of domestic and foreign oil grades depending on the specifications of each refinery and to balance global demand for refined products. These globally competitive refineries cannot simply switch over to American shale oil grades. The refineries are currently not designed to take the grades being produced in newly vast volumes from U.S. shale fields. Tariffs on imported oil would increase costs for refiners while doing nothing to increase their use of U.S. shale oil. These higher costs would raise gas prices at the pump, harming our nation’s refiners and raising energy prices for American families during these already challenging economic times.

This imbalance between domestic grade production and domestic grade demand is why the ability to export our energy surplus is so important. Unfortunately, tariffs would also harm U.S. exports. Any U.S. tariffs would invite retaliation from our global competitors, not just on crude oil but also on refined products. Years before crude oil exports were even allowed, the U.S. became a net exporter of refined products. These exports help reduce our trade deficit and support high paying domestic jobs. Tariffs on imported oil would make these refined exports more expensive and thus less competitive globally, in addition to retaliatory tariffs from other countries. This double blow to our refined exports would increase our trade deficit. Likewise, retaliatory tariffs on crude oil would decrease our ability to export our shale oil surplus, which is the key to our booming domestic production.

Against these significant harms, oil tariffs will have no positive benefits. Even if tariffs marginally increase the price of imported oil, U.S. domestic production is still far above current demand. Prices for domestic oil would therefore not increase with the imposition of import tariffs. This is because the core problem for U.S. producers is not imports, it is a loss of demand. The shutdowns and slowdowns in the U.S. and around the world mean that people are driving and flying much less. Until demand returns, prices for U.S. oil producers will not rise.

Ultimately, the best solution for U.S. oil producers is getting the economy back open and running. Oil tariffs do nothing to help open the economy, but would do harm to domestic industries and consumers. We urge you to reject this harmful, shortsighted policy.

The full letter and list of signatories can be read here.

For media inquiries please contact:
JON HAUBERT | 303.396.5996

Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic, Bloomberg and McCarthy Reach New Political Low

“Scientists are warning us that air pollution makes Covid-19, which strikes at the lungs, more deadly. Nonetheless, in the space of about a month, the president has repeatedly undermined rules limiting air pollution. Tens of thousands of Americans will die as a result.”

It’s no surprise that Michael Bloomberg and Gina McCarthy – two Democratic operatives – think Donald J. Trump is a very bad man. Yet their recent opinion piece How Trump’s EPA Is Making Covid-19 More Deadly does nothing to prove it. Bloomberg, coming off a failed presidential bid, and McCarthy, now head of an anti-Trump environmental pressure group, claim that because of a relationship between air pollution and COVID-19 mortality, the Trump administration’s recent announcements on environmental policy will kill tens of thousands of Americans. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Bloomberg and McCarthy cite a recent Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study that evaluated the correlation between exposure to particulate matter and coronavirus mortality. Bloomberg and McCarthy (who, coincidentally, is a visiting professor at the school) write that the study “shows that even a tiny increase in fine particulate matter air pollution — commonly known as ‘soot’ — increases death rates from Covid-19.” The casual reader would assume the Harvard study forecasts many, many deaths that will be attributable to recent Trump administration decisions. 

But the study, which has not been peer reviewed and has been dismissed by prominent epidemiologists, does not justify what Bloomberg and McCarthy imply. In fact, the study doesn’t really even address the policies that Bloomberg and McCarthy have targeted. Of course, that didn’t stop them from using it to advance their political agenda.

Rather than forecasting the impact of any particular Trump policy change, the study’s authors evaluated what relationship there may be between long-term average PM2.5 exposure (i.e., exposure over a decade and a half) and risk of COVID-19 mortality. They did this through an analysis of county-level statistics on PM2.5 and on COVID-19 mortality in same-said counties. In their own words, “We investigated whether long-term average exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 death in the United States.”

The study concluded that a long-term average PM2.5 exposure increase of 1 μg/m3 is associated with an 8 percent increase in the COVID-19 death rate. Long-term exposure, the study finds, is linked to many of the comorbidities that have been associated with poor prognosis and death in COVID-19 patients. In simple terms, areas that have had higher average PM2.5 counts over the long-term have been hit harder by the coronavirus. 

The study says virtually nothing about the Trump administration’s recent announcements—not a mention of the fuel economy mandate increases, nor a word about the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, two of the policy changes Bloomberg and McCarthy say will lead to mass death.  

By suggesting that the study relays meaningful analysis of Trump administration policy changes, Bloomberg and McCarthy blatantly mislead their readers. The study is about long-term exposure and COVID-19 risk, not concurrent policy changes. Perhaps they should have heeded the advice of the author of the study, who stated “I don’t think that major policy decisions should be made based on our study.” 

Beyond misleading their readers on the conclusions of the Harvard study, Bloomberg and McCarthy also farcically mischaracterize the particular policy decisions at issue. “First,” they write, “the Environmental Protection Agency told coal, oil and gas, and power producers they were free to ignore pollution monitoring and reporting obligations – as long as they use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse.” In reality, EPA has issued a temporary COVID19 enforcement policy to help regulated entities manage the unprecedented stay-at-home and social distancing orders issued by state and local governments that will prevent their employees from working as usual. EPA explicitly states that this temporary policy will not let facilities off the hook for violations and that EPA will, on a case-by-case basis, assess whether any violations that arise were caused by the public health emergency.

Bloomberg and McCarthy’s second target is the recent Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles rulemaking in which the Department of Transportation and EPA established new parameters for automaker compliance with fuel economy mandates. The alleged “rollback” is no such thing. The SAFE rule calls for fleet-wide fuel efficiency to increase by 1.5 percent per year. This increase is an attainable goal for manufactures, that allows for a more consumer-driven market than the onerous plan written by the previous administration.

The authors’ third target is that EPA recently announced it will continue to enforce the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter. You read that correctly, EPA will retain the standards, not eliminate or even diminish them. But for Bloomberg and McCarthy, that’s tantamount to “turn(ing) down an opportunity to save 12,000 lives.”

Lastly, Bloomberg and McCarthy lash out at EPA’s April reconsideration of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. While a reader would think EPA might have erased it from the books entirely, in fact, the reconsidered standards merely recalculated some of the cost-benefit frameworks and established a baseline that will ensure no more mercury or any other hazardous air pollutant will be released than before. 

Attempting to tie COVID-19 deaths to things as innocuous as the recent fuel economy rule announcement or the continuation of established policy is a political bridge too far. Bloomberg and McCarthy, like so many others who can’t bear the fact that Donald Trump is our president, have fallen into the sad, tired “now-more-than-ever” coronavirus trap. They don’t really have something new to say here, but “now more than ever” they think we need to do what they have always thought we should. 

With millions of Americans out of work and many more anxious about how to reenter society, Bloomberg and McCarthy have reached a new low in political attacks: using a not-ready-for-prime-time study to scare Americans about the Trump administration’s reasonable and rational regulatory reform efforts. One has to wonder if the Bloomberg-McCarthy op-ed would have made it past the editor’s desk were one of their names not on the masthead.