The past year was quite a whirlwind, especially on the policy front. Unlike many advocacy organizations, Fuel Freedom was well positioned to continue progress both philosophically and with the relationships we have built over the past few years. Our message has always maintained broad appeal — left, right and center. And we have told it consistently: Cheaper. Cleaner. American Made.
Those messages resonated in 2017. Meetings with behind-the-scenes officials and policy experts (where policies actually happen) illuminated a few key insights:
- Our consistent central economic message resonates strongly across the aisle: jobs, economic opportunity, and price competition at the pump.
- No one in Washington, D.C., wants the United States to be left behind in the global energy game.
- Policy insiders spanning the political spectrum are seriously concerned that our continued heavy reliance on oil in transportation is detrimental for our long-term national and energy security.
- There is genuine continued support for corn ethanol, both for the economic prospects of the heartland, and for its inherent advantages over today’s gasoline (in other words, high octane).
- The most unexpected revelation was that, in general, neither the Trump administration nor Congress are dogmatically “anti-climate change.” Many politicians just assign it much less urgency. That’s a tough pill to swallow for constituencies that perceive increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the single biggest threat we face. But it also means that officials do not reject strategies out of hand due to climate benefit. On the contrary. While primary interest is currently focused on the economy, jobs, national security and U.S. energy dominance, we are regularly asked additionally about the climate implications for our ideas.
Bolstered by these insights, the coming year offers a timely opportunity to make significant, tangible progress. The fuel economy standards are currently under review, with an initial decision point expected in spring 2018. Both the EPA and the Department of Transportation will weigh in with their assessments for the process to ultimately conclude in 2019.
It is vital that the path forward does not default to the gasoline-only status quo. EV technologies continue to decline in price, to increase performance, and to gain market share, though they remain a relatively small portion of the market overall. It is clear that liquid-fueled vehicles will continue to dominate the roadways for some time. Recognizing that reality, we need to push for the greatest possible improvement, which means better fuels to enable better performing engines.
Given the timeline imposed by the agencies, we expect 2018 to be a pivotal year to make progress. We will be sharing more about our work and our specific policy proposals over the next weeks and months. Stay tuned.
Until then, we remain as committed and as optimistic as ever. In 2017, we strengthened our existing alliances and forged important new ones. We continue to make clear that no mandates or subsidies are necessary to reduce petroleum dependence and diversify our domestic fuel supply. Market forces can do the heavy lifting. The government just needs to enact smart policies that will allow it to happen.
Fuel Freedom will continue to be immersed in the ongoing discussions, both in public and in private. We continue to represent the interests of Americans tired of being denied a choice at the pump. And we continue to promote greater use of domestic energy resources, cleaner transportation, less dependence on foreign oil, and more U.S. jobs.
Here’s to a successful, prosperous, and fulfilling 2018!
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