EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asserted today that the Energy Tax Prevention Act "would increase our oil dependence by hundreds of millions of gallons"

EPA will raise gas prices

By —— Bio and Archives--March 11, 2011

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EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asserted today that the Energy Tax Prevention Act “would increase our oil dependence by hundreds of millions of gallons” because it would remove EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide from automobiles under the Clean Air Act - and thereby forgo “hundreds of millions of barrels of oil savings.”  This is false.


Congress gave explicit authority to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish fuel economy in automobiles, otherwise known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The Energy Tax Prevention Act in no way restricts or impedes NHTSA’s authority over CAFE.

Administrator Jackson pointed to the auto deal struck in 2009 between auto companies, EPA, and the state of California covering CO2 from autos as evidence that EPA has a major role in reducing oil consumption.  First, the Energy Tax Prevention Act keeps that deal in place.  Second, NHTSA’s work overwhelms any contribution from EPA.  As EPA explained in the rule implementing the deal, “The CAFE standards address most, but not all, of the real world CO2 emissions.”  In the end, EPA’s rule amounts to about 4 percent of the deal’s emissions reductions.

Moreover, EPA and NHTSA established a “single national program” for cars and light duty trucks.  As petitioners argued in the motion to stay EPA’s GHG rules, “The [new] CAFE standards and EPA’s Tailpipe Rule are virtually identical, with irrelevant differences in how the two standards address air conditioning.”  Removing EPA’s authority in this vein, therefore, would merely eliminate bureaucratic duplication in setting fuel economy.  As EPA explained:

[EPA and NHTSA] have harmonized many elements of program design, such as the form of the standard (the footprint-based attribute curves), and the definitions used for cars and trucks…Given the common technical issues before each agency, the similarity of the factors each agency is to consider and balance, and the authority of each agency to take into consideration the standards of the other agency, both EPA and NHTSA are establishing standards that result in a harmonized National Program

If anything, EPA’s cap-and-trade agenda-designed to make fossil fuels more expensive - will result in higher gas prices.  How?  By restricting supply.

Take the example of Lion Oil.  Vice President Steve Cousins recently testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that his company began a major $2 million expansion of its El Dorado refinery in 2007, with 2,000 construction jobs, but its completion has since been stalled.  As Cousins explained, “The uncertainty and potentially prohibitive costs associated with possible cap-and-trade legislation and EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations were a critical factor leading us to delay the completion of the expansion.”

Cousins also testified in 2009 that cap-and-trade legislation would have forced his company out of business.  He sees the same threat looming at EPA:

It is our fear that left unchecked, EPA will use the Clean Air Act to drive to exactly the same goals as the defeated cap-and-trade legislation that Congress so wisely chose not to pass. And in that pursuit, EPA will inflict the same damage on our company and our nation’s economy.

In today’s press conference, President Obama said that we “need to continue to boost domestic production of oil and gas” to make sure that Americans are not overwhelmed by rising gas prices.  Mr. President, take an important first step: support the Energy Tax Prevention Act.


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