An unusual new alliance is being formed.
Within days of being sworn into office, President Joe Biden signed the "Buy American" executive order, an initiative aimed at government agencies to purchase products and other services from US companies. Part of that order involves replacing the gasoline-powered federal vehicle fleet with electric vehicles, built by Americans, of course. US automakers, including General Motors, which also just announced it will only build electric vehicle passenger cars by 2035, appear to be on board with the plan. Not surprisingly, one particular auto-related industry is far from pleased.
According to Reuters, the US oil industry is currently seeking an alliance with America's corn growers and biofuel producers to lobby against Biden's plan. The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), an oil refining trade group, has confirmed the plan.
The goal is to block efforts to provide fuel subsidies for EVs and reduce the carbon intensity of transport fuels. Essentially, the developing plan is being designed to offer an alternative to Biden's goal of fleet electrification by ensuring a continued market for combustion-engined vehicles that can also run on biofuels. But fans of gas-guzzling muscle cars like the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 shouldn't get too excited just yet.
The biofuel industry doesn't exactly trust the oil industry. "We weren't born yesterday and we're not going to let the oil industry play us like a fiddle," said the leader of one biofuel trade group. "They have a long history of pushing surrogates and proxies to the microphone to do their dirty work and we're not interested in that."
Even the National Corn Growers Association is still debating whether to sign on with Big Oil. Former President Trump was considered very friendly to the oil and gas industry, as evidenced by his plan to sue California over its self-declared ban on new combustion vehicle sales by 2035. One key argument the oil industry plans to make is that carbon emissions can be reduced with increased octane content as well as ethanol. Ethanol is produced from corn biomass, hence the Big Oil's sudden affection towards that industry.
But many in the biofuel industry remain uninterested in collaborating with the oil industry. "It's no surprise the oil industry all of a sudden wants to give us a bear hug," another biofuel lobbyist said. "We produce lower carbon fuels. They don't."