Oil Industry Opposes California’s Clean Fuels Future; Changes Tune After Originally Supporting State Standard.
by Susan Frank, Director, California Business Alliance for a Green Economy
Several years ago cleantech companies, mainstream businesses and the oil industry stood side-by-side in their support of cleaner, low-carbon fuels – an unexpected, but welcomed event in the history of California’s clean energy policy development.
But now, Chevron and other oil companies have not only abandoned their commitment to cleaner fuels, they’ve declared war on California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).
I was recently interviewed for an in-depth investigation by Bloomberg News, which shows that Chevron, in particular, broke faith with California just a few years after the company’s initial support for the LCFS. The investigation uncovered internal Chevron documents, which reveal company officials abandoned support for low-carbon fuels when profit projections were lower than those from traditional fuels.
Six years ago, oil industry support for the LCFS was notable, as businesses and consumers in California who have long suffered from the yo-yo effect of high gas prices saw the clear opportunity for progress on clean fuels. As a result of the LCFS, companies like Propel Fuels are already seeing their revenues, customers and fuel base double annually, having opened 37 alternative fuel stations throughout California and with plans for 200 more over the next 2 years.
Low carbon fuels are affordable and available today, creating jobs and driving innovation in the state. Despite the facts of this emerging industry, the opposition has engaged in a sophisticated, multi-million dollar campaign to mislead policymakers and the public about the LCFS. Watch a video here, which explains more about this effort.
As a former chamber of commerce executive and the director of a network of more than 1,255 California businesses, I can say with certainty that the business community is counting on a growing, diverse cleaner fuels marketplace that the LCFS sets out to promulgate.
It’s well past time for the oil industry to join automakers, utilities, and other businesses across the state, and return to its earlier position of support for a fuel standard that makes sense for all Californians.