As a subscriber to the Oil & Gas Journal, lots of email alerts roll into my inbox. But sometimes there's a missive startling enough to actually get my attention. This is one of those times. The API is the American Petroleum Institute—
HOUSTON, Apr. 5 -- The American Petroleum Institute opposes a new rule the US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation issued for fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks sold in the US, starting with 2012 models and gradually increasing through 2016 model-year vehicles.
The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard would be equivalent to an average of 35.5 mpg for 2016 model-year vehicles if all GHG emission reductions were to come from fuel economy improvements. The standard could be as low as 34.1 mpg if automakers meet it through a combination of fuel economy and air-conditioning improvements.
For the first time, greenhouse gas emission regulations are incorporated into CAFE standards. The EPA GHG standards require these vehicles to meet an estimated combined average emissions level of 250 g of carbon dioxide per mile in model-year 2016...
API said improved vehicle efficiency is “a vital part of energy conservation,” but the industry group questions GHG regulations from EPA being included in DOT’s fuel economy standards.
“EPA joining DOT in this rule sets the nation on the disastrous course of Clean Air Act regulation of stationary source greenhouse gas emissions,” API said. “The states aren’t prepared for this, the path of implementation is unclear, and the costs and delays will likely prove severe.”
The rule is expected to be tied closely to future regulations of stationary source GHG emissions, which will affect refiners.
“The rule is not just about vehicle efficiency. It’s about EPA overreaching to create an opportunity for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from virtually every firm and business in America,” API said. “The Clean Air Act was intended to control traditional pollutants, not greenhouse gas emissions that come from every vehicle, home, factory, and farm in America.”
The latest fuel economy announcement did not directly address the threshold at which refineries and other large industrial plans would be required to control GHGs.
Good God! Let me be blunt. There are so many layers of confusion here that it's hard to straighten them all out. I'm not sure who is more deluded here, the EPA or the API.
The odds that humankind will take serious steps to mitigate anthropogenic climate change are a million to 1 against. For Homo sapiens, such as it is, the probability of such events is effectively zero. As in indistinguishable from nada, zip, zilch, nil, goose egg. As in 3 strikes and you're out. As in not going to happen. Forget about it! And certainly where oil is concerned, reducing CO2 emissions is not a good reason to do anything.
On the other hand, there does exist a compelling reason to reduce U.S. oil consumption. Here it is—
U.S. Crude Oil Production (excluding NGLs and other liquids, millions of barrels-per-day). Source
In the week ending March 26, 2010 (four week average), the United States was consuming 19.2 million barrels-per-day. Net imports were 8.8 million barrels-per-day. Our oil imports alone exceed the total oil consumption of any other country on Earth. On Earth!
Has the API never seen this graph? And if the EPA is doing the right thing, they are doing so inadvertently. If the API thinks the EPA and the DOT have overstepped their authority in calling for a major push to increase CAFE standards, then when would the right time be to bite the bullet and lower our oil consumption? The right time was 30 years ago!
When I first wrote about the proposed fuel standard rule changes, I made a compelling case that these changes were not stringent enough. That 35 miles-per-gallon number is an illusion when you look at the details.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it because it's true. Some days, I really do get disgusted with all this not-quite-so-astonishing nonsense—many would say I should simply accept this bullshit. I suppose so. And most days, I do accept it as I tell you the bad news on this blog. But not today. Not today. I am disgusted today. As my profile says, denial is not just a river in Egypt.