4 reasons EPA’s proposed tailpipe rules are a bad idea
We’ve been raising the alarm about EPA’s newly proposed tailpipe emissions rules. If implemented, these rules would act as an EV mandate and a de facto ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. This could upend the U.S. refining industry.
Deadline July 5: We need members of the U.S. refining and petrochemical industries to push back against these proposed rules. Your voice will make an impact.
As always, we want EMPOWER program members like you to understand the details and implications of proposed regulations like these. Below, we’re breaking down the four key problems as we see them:
1. EPA’s rule gives away our energy security and creates a greater reliance on China
The United States’ refining sector is the envy of the world. We produce more fuels and other refined products than anyone else. Our refining operations are the most competitive in the world, thanks to our sophisticated workforce, low-cost resources, the complexity of our facilities, and scale. Importantly, nearly 85% of the crude oil that runs through our refineries is produced right here in North America.
But the United States does not dominate when it comes to EV batteries, battery minerals or EV production. We assemble some batteries in this country, but China assembles most of the world’s batteries. China controls the majority of the mineral processing that goes into battery components. And in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which mines 70% of the world’s cobalt, China owns or finances 80% of the mines. We are investing significantly to build battery supply chains here (which is a good thing), but we won’t match China anytime soon (see this from Visual Capitalist and the Dallas Fed).
Effectively outlawing most new cars that run on American-made fuels will undercut our energy security and leave us more dependent on China. We should not give any country that leverage.
2. It stifles sustainability innovation from the refining sector
The American refining industry has been innovating for 150 years. In just the past few decades, we’ve dramatically reduced pollutants from transportation fuels, lowered the carbon footprint of our facilities and leveraged our expertise to produce new types of fuels — like renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel — that have far lower GHG emissions over their lifecycles. This is no time to count us out.
The EPA’s proposed rule looks just at tailpipe emissions and effectively mandates EVs as the only path forward. This takes innovation and lower-emissions solutions from other industries — including ours — completely off the table. EPA calls electric vehicles “zero emission vehicles” and completely ignores emissions from electricity generation and battery production, from charging vehicles and from recycling and replacing batteries. If we want amore sustainable future, we need to source solutions from every sector, not depend on a single technology chosen by the government.
3. Mineral supplies may be insufficient to support this quick of a transition
Lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite are essential for making EV batteries — they are the critical minerals we hear so much about. Proponents of EPA’s rules often point out that the Earth has plenty these minerals in its crust. And they’re right. But in-the-ground reserves are useless without the mines and processing facilities to turn ore into usable material. And that’s where analysts project shortages.
Manufacturing EVs requires about six times more minerals than traditional ICE vehicles, and permitting and opening new mines can take years. The International Energy Agency points out that “significant additional investment will be needed to support demand growth (in minerals).” They also note that it takes more than 16 years, on average, to get a major mining project up and running (source).
So what happens when EV production is effectively mandated by EPA, but we don’t have enough minerals to make the batteries and vehicles? That’s a question EPA hasn’t answered.
4. The rule will raise costs now, not in 5 years
EPA’s new rule wouldn’t officially kick in until automakers start churning out model year 2027 vehicles, but it’s already having an impact. In fact, we’re already paying for federal and state government overreach in the vehicle space.
I hope you found this information helpful. We have until July 5 to prevent these rules from being implemented by EPA and we can’t do that without your voice. If you haven’t already, please submit a comment to EPA here. It only takes a minute, and will make a big difference.
- Charlie and the AFPM EMPOWER Team
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