Securing America's Future Energy

Administration’s Announcement To Revoke California’s Waiver Plunges Fuel Economy Standards Into Uncertainty At Exactly The Wrong Time

Alex Adams | 202.461.2374 |

Washington, D.C.—In response to the administration’s announcement to withdraw California’s power to set its own fuel economy rules, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) President and CEO Robbie Diamond made the following statement:

“The energy security policy of the United States should prioritize self-reliance as the best defense against intensifying global instability. The Trump Administration’s decision to revoke California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act risks exacerbating U.S. oil dependence and, therefore, vulnerability to events in an increasingly volatile Middle East. Strengthening America’s economic and national security will be best achieved by reaching an agreement with California to implement stable, realistic improvements in fuel economy. The goal of insulating the United States from the chaos of the Middle East should supersede the domestic debate regarding regulation. The Administration’s action is misguided and a setback toward that goal.”

The recent airstrikes on the Abqaiq oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia halved the country’s oil production, reduced global supply by 5 percent, and highlighted the fragility of the global oil supply chain as oil prices jumped. When SAFE modeled this attack in 2011, it found the long-term policy solution to such a large-scale strike to be a reduction in U.S. oil dependence through modernized fuel economy regulations and greater fuel diversity.

The decision to revoke California’s waiver authority comes after four automakers struck a deal with the state for more stringent fuel economy rules than those currently proposed by the Trump administration.

“SAFE has long advocated for a compromise on the fuel economy standards. Creative out-of-the-box thinking by California and Ford, Volkswagen, Honda and BMW North America promised to steer the country back to regulatory certainty and one national system that continues to lower our dependence on oil as the only transportation fuel and provide fuel choice to consumers and businesses. We strongly urge the administration to reconsider its actions,” Diamond added.

Oil is central to the U.S. economy. The United States is the world’s largest oil consumer, accounting for one-fifth of daily global supply, more than 70 percent of which is used to power a transportation system that is 92 percent dependent upon oil. Efficiency regulations enhance our nation’s energy security by ensuring we extract more economic value out of every barrel the United States uses.

The uniquely global nature of oil prices, where a supply disruption anywhere in the world affects prices everywhere, means oil price volatility engineered by OPEC or from other factors will affect American consumers, regardless of how much oil the U.S. produces.

About Securing America’s Future Energy

Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.

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