Big Oil behind shadowy campaign to gut clean car rules

DECEMBER 13, 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: Sage Welch, 615 715 6714

Christina Heartquist, 408 661 2666

Big Oil behind shadowy campaign to gut clean car rules 

Experts call for answers on Big Oil’s ties to Trump administration’s rollback  


WASHINGTON D.C. – Today’s explosive investigation by The New York Times exposes how Big Oil spearheaded a covert campaign to roll back clean-car standards. The rollback would preserve the oil industry’s stranglehold on Americans’ pocketbooks — at the expense of American families’ health and economic security.

The American public deserves full transparency. Andrew Wheeler and the EPA, and Heidi King and NHTSA, must disclose all communications and documents between their agencies and Marathon Petroleum and other big corporate interests. The American people, who have the most to lose if standards are rolled back, deserve to know the details of this coordinated campaign to protect corporate interests and defraud consumers, undermining our economic security, endangering our national security, and threatening our environment.


Consumer Reports (contact: Adam Winer,
“This investigation makes it clear that EPA and NHTSA’s plan to rollback fuel economy and emission standards was fueled in part by a misleading oil industry campaign to boost their profits and leave consumers stuck spending up to $4,800 more at the pump,” said Shannon Baker-Branstetter, Senior Policy Counsel of Energy and Environment for Consumers Reports. “Moreover, it’s hypocritical for the oil industry to complain about an electric vehicle tax credit that goes directly to the consumer while taking hundreds of billions of tax dollars in subsidies for themselves.”

Environmental Defense Fund (contact: Sharyn Stein,
“Environmental Defense Fund calls on EPA acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to immediately withdraw his pro-polluter attack on climate safety that is putting all Americans in harm’s way,” said Martha Roberts, senior attorney at Environmental Defense Fund. “Andrew Wheeler must stop doing the bidding of polluters and start doing the work of protecting climate safety and clean air for the American people.”

Natural Resources Defense Council (contact: Mark Drajem,
“We’ve said all along that the rollback is a giveaway to the oil industry and no good for anybody else,” said Luke Tonachel, director of clean vehicles and fuels at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s clear that the administration is favoring corporate interests over what’s best for Americans.”

Sierra Club (contact Nissa Koerner,
“The rollback of the clean car standards was corrupt from the very beginning — between the auto industry’s backdoor negotiations and now the revelations of Big Oil’s shady campaigning, it’s no wonder the proposal is this extreme,” said Andrew Linhardt, Sierra Club Clean Transportation for All Deputy Advocacy Director. “Trump and Wheeler have shown time and time again that they care more about lining corporate pockets than the health and safety of the American people.”

Safe Climate Campaign (contact Dan Becker,
“The clean-car standards are so effective at cutting our oil appetite that the petroleum industry tried to kill them off, said Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign. “It’s appalling, but not surprising that the Trump administration did the industry’s bidding.”

Public Citizen (contact: Madeline Page,
“The clean car standards save consumers billions at the gas pump and cut the dangerous pollution that’s fueling the climate crisis,” said Madeline Page, Public Citizen clean cars campaign coordinator. “It’s no surprise that the oil industry and its massive web of influence had a hand in the clean cars rollback. This news is further proof that the Trump administration isn’t draining the swamp, it’s just adding oil.”

League of Conservation Voters (contact: Alyssa Roberts
“This investigation shows once again that the Trump administration does the bidding of corporate polluters and the Koch brothers at the expense of our health and safety,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, SVP of Government Affairs at the League of Conservation Voters. “They’ll clearly stop at nothing to protect polluter profits and gut commonsense public health and environmental protections like the clean car standards. We will continue to fight this rollback every step of the way.”