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Taking On EPA, CAL Air Resources Board, Obama, and Big Oil

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An Open Letter To Sierra Club

By Marc J. Rauch
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher

    Originally published March 16, 2017


On Wednesday, March 15th, the Trump Administration announced that it was recalling the fuel economy rule of 2012. This announcement was met with a flurry of frantic press releases from a whole host of "concerned" organizations. The first one I received was from the Sierra Club. Because their press release was the first I read I have chosen them to respond to. However, I emailed the same response to The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, The Natural Resources Defense Council, The American Chemistry Council, and a number of other like-minded organizations and individuals. You can read Sierra Club's press release by CLICKING HERE.

The following was my response:

Hi Michael, Lauren and all Sierra Club staff -

I received your press release this morning titled "Trump Vehicle Executive Order Will Increase Gas Prices and Carbon Pollution While Putting Americans' Health in Danger."

As you may know, my business partner and I, as well as our entire editorial staff, have worked for many years to curtail the use of gasoline and petroleum diesel and make America energy independent. We are very strong advocates of clean air, water and the environment. We are among the foremost proponents of clean and affordable alternative fuels in the automotive media world. We have taken on the petroleum oil industry and their lobbyists in the strongest tones possible. If you don't already know this about us then you and your organization should make it a point to do so.

Having now reminded or acquainted you with our efforts, I have to tell you that your press release presents shamefully wrong and ignorant information.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been a mixed bag when it comes to automotive-related environment and health issues. They have hindered as much or more then they've helped. They have blocked the acceptance and application of fuels and technology that could have dramatically reduced poisons that spew into the atmosphere and water; they've supported false studies conducted by the petroleum oil industry and readily disseminated it's incorrect data; and they have helped to establish deceptively irrelevant miles-per-gallon goals for gasoline-powered internal combustion engines.

As luke warm as the EPA has been, the California Air Resources Board has been a total farce. If the members of CARB are not on the direct payroll of the oil industry, they've acted like they are. Where the EPA only made the application of affordable alt fuels like CNG outrageously expensive, CARB made it impossible. Where the EPA provided some assistance in helping to advance ethanol acceptance in the American marketplace, CARB has ignored it. I have written about CARB's malevolent blindness to these fuels on multiple occasions, but CARB continues to focus and waste money on electric solutions that may never materialize. Even if electric powered cars one day become the exclusive vehicles on the road, we are decades, if not a century or more away from that time. Meanwhile, CARB will continue to allow poisonous emissions from gasoline and diesel fuel to pour into our air and water.
          (Read: California Government Seeks New Ways To Screw Public Using Energy Concerns)

We are at a point past which the manufacture of all new gasoline-powered engines should have been discontinued. I wrote about this in 2008.

We are at a point past which benzene and toluene should have been completely eliminated in any gasoline blend. I wrote about this again and again over the years.
          (Read: The Oil Industry Has Been Poisoning Us For Decades)

Unfortunately, your press release doesn't stop with bestowing unearned praise on the EPA and CARB, your chief executive makes a ridiculous statement commending Barack Obama for success in achieving "historic vehicle efficiency standards" and causing U.S. auto sales to reach record highs.

Barack Obama was not responsible for any successes, especially not when it comes to the automobile and transportation industries. While Obama did deliver a very promising energy speech in August 2008, prior to winning the Democrat nomination and the presidency, he accomplished nothing once he was in office. Although new vehicle sales in 2015 and 2016 hit record highs, it was due to a very long pent-up consumer need for new vehicles to replace aging vehicles (the traditional new vehicle buying cycles had been disrupted by the long recession that began in 2000). The increase in sales was also helped by a flood of dangerous subprime auto loans that will probably wind-up causing another economic crash similar to the housing crisis.

Moreover, since 2016's record sales were due primarily to the increase in sales of SUVs and pick-up trucks, which deliver the worst energy efficiency, there is absolutely no justification in crediting these sales to Obama's non-existent energy accomplishments.

In any event, worrying about increasing MPG in new vehicles is totally irrelevant; it is addressing the problem from the wrong end. We have hundreds of millions of gasoline-powered vehicles on the road. Between trying to extend gasoline MPG a few percentage points every few years, and waiting for a time when electric cars become dominant (if ever), we are on track to poison all humans. And if man-made climate change is real, and greenhouse gases from vehicles are the primary cause, then we will all be dead long before electric cars ever get the chance to take over.

However, right now, today, the vast majority of the vehicles on the road can safely, economically, and healthfully use far higher ethanol blends than E10. And the overwhelming majority of the majority of vehicles on the road can use E85 with little or no engine modifications. This would have an immediate and dramatic effect on all harmful emissions. It would also boost the horse-power in most cars and light trucks and save us all money. It would also be a great boon to American farmers and the American ethanol industry. The EPA has known this for years. The EPA and the Obama Administration has stood in the way of making it happen (the Bush Administration was equally complicit).

Instead of fantasizing over the evil you wish Donald Trump will be responsible for, fight for real solutions that can really save lives, real quickly.

• SEE ALSO: The Ethanol Dividend.