With Some Help From The Farm Belt

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Photo copyright Matheus Pach,

In case you haven’t noticed by now, there is a new presidential administration controlling the White House. And as one can expect whenever the seat of power changes hands, President Biden has wasted no time getting his agenda rolling. Last week, President Biden announced his intentions to replace the entire federal fleet with electric vehicles, making good on a long-standing campaign promise. As the government and automakers alike begin to journey towards an electrified future, the oil lobby isn’t so pleased. In fact, a new report from Reuters states that lobbyists represented Big Oil have just teamed up with the Farm Belt in an effort to combat Biden’s EV plans.

Historically speaking, the oil lobby and the farming industry lobby haven’t always seen eye to eye. This is perhaps best represented by Big Oil’s attempts to block the advancement of biofuels and other farm-based petroleum alternatives. That said, the sweeping changes expected to come under the new administration appears to have softened the relationship. Considering both fuel types rely on the continuation of the internal combustion engine, this unlikely partnership makes more sense now than at any other time.

2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Review
Photo copyright Matheus Pach,

According to Reuters, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers have officially been contacting representatives of the corn and biofuel industries at the state and national level. This contact has been made in an effort to bolster the support of an AFPM policy suggestion, which would see the end of President Biden’s proposed federal subsidies for electric vehicles. Furthermore, the policy hopes to reduce the carbon intensity of our current crop of transport fuels. In simple terms, this could mean the addition of more ethanol into gasoline, or a full-blown shift to biofuels. The latter seems unlikely to be suggested by our oil providers, however.

That said, sources told the publication that many in the farm sector are weary of joining forces with the oil lobby. These concerns come from both the oil industries rivalry with their previous efforts, as well as an unwillingness to speak out against the new president’s energy plan.

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While the idea of the oil lobbyists teaming up with Farm Belt lobbyists would’ve seemed crazy less than a decade ago, times are changing. Whether or not these efforts will have any sort of real impact is yet to be seen however. Even if the lobbyists are able to convince congress to change its tune, automakers aren’t simply domestic companies. Part of the shift towards electric vehicles here at home is the result of ever-tightening emissions regulations across the globe. The nation’s largest automaker in General Motors has already made it clear that they have no plans to sell ICE vehicles after 2035, and that they aim to be carbon neutral by 2040. With Ford and the newly-minted Stellantis also keeping a close eye on the growing EV segment, we aren’t sure this idea will have any auto industry support.

The oil industry has had a great run over the last century or so, but their time might be ticking down. While we can’t shame anyone for trying to keep their multi-billion operation chugging, we don’t think this is a battle they can win. That said, perhaps the Farm Belt’s biofuels are an area in which the new administration should invest some research. That might just be our only shot at keeping the internal combustion engine around, at least for the time being.

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Written by Lucas Bell

Lucas holds a journalism degree from Wayne State University, and is a Automotive Press Association scholarship recipient. While an American muscle fan through and through, he once wrote a fascinating comparison review about eScooters.

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