The good news: EV sales are growing steadily. The bad news: They’ve now grown enough to attract the attention of Big Oil, which is planning a multi-million-dollar counterattack.
Citing “refining industry sources,” the Huffington Post reports that a consortium of fossil fuel interests is making plans to form a new advocacy group that hopes to spend about $10 million dollars per year to promote legacy fuels and attack government subsidies for EVs.
According to the Huff, James Mahoney, a Koch Industries board member, and lobbyist Charlie Drevna, the former head of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers trade group, have been meeting with executives from oil and refining giants to plan the new project.
Oil industry sources say that Koch Industries (a conglomerate with $115 billion in annual revenues) or an allied organization will be the lead financier of a group whose mission will be to “make the public aware of all the benefits of petroleum-based transportation fuels,” and that “electric vehicles and the subsidies for them” are at least part of the reason for the new initiative.
The anti-EV campaign complements the strategy that Koch-backed advocacy groups have been following in recent years to fight renewable energy. “The Kochs have invested heavily in a pugnacious defense of fossil fuel consumption,” said one conservative energy analyst. “They’ve done this in the electricity sector, and as the debate shifts to transportation they’re behaving true to form.”
However, some energy lobbyists warn that attacks on EV subsidies could backfire. “Producers and refiners need to be careful in going after clean energy subsidies,” said former ConocoPhillips lobbyist Don Duncan, because calling attention to energy subsidies in general “could again refocus the debate on subsidies and incentives enjoyed by [oil] producers and refiners.”