Gasoline cars are not banned, despite the propaganda of the big oil companies

The last time we checked, oil industry executives were breathing the same atmosphere as everyone else. So you would think that they would want to do everything they can to clean our air and protect public health.

Yet oil companies and their powerful, entrenched trade associations have been lobbying against clean air policies in Washington, DC, for generations, promoting toxic, polluting companies with slick ads full of misleading claims and outright lies.

Meanwhile, television stations across the country are doing their job by running misleading public relations campaigns like this one, which spotlights Big Oil’s fear-mongering claim: the falsehood about a federal “ban” on gas-powered vehicles.

This desperate claim can easily be refuted, and yet the oil and gas shillings continue to pour millions of extra dollars into their losing battle to keep as many polluting vehicles on the road as possible for as long as possible.

To listen to these companies and their mouthpieces, you would think that our gas cars are going to disappear into thin air or that “big government” is going to come and tow our cars out of our driveways and force us to buy electric cars.

Sounds crazy, right? Because it is.

Why are they so desperate? No doubt they too see the writing on the wall. The status quo is changing and the EV transition is underway, which scares them. Global sales of combustion engine vehicles have fallen every year since 2017, as electric cars take a growing share.

The fossil fuel industry knows we are in the midst of an electrification revolution and they will stop at nothing – including spreading blatant lies about clean car and electric vehicle policies – to enjoy their huge polluting profits and payouts for as long as possible to shareholders.

The oil industry has a long, sordid history of lying about the climate crisis, obscuring important data on the effects of pollution on public health, and pushing a deregulation agenda so they can more easily pollute our air, water, and climate. They want us to keep driving less efficient, gas-guzzling vehicles so they can make more money. The more gas we have to put in our cars to fuel them, the more dollars they have to line their dirty pockets.

This spring, the Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing long-term clean car standards that will help reduce climate pollution, improve public health and save drivers money through lower fuel and maintenance costs. Nothing in the EPA’s proposal bans gas-powered cars or forces Americans to buy an electric car or any specific type of car.

Instead, Big Oil’s lobby is focused on ensuring that automakers continue to produce fossil fuel-powered cars, in effect trying to hinder progress on cleaner vehicles. The oil industry shouldn’t be telling us what cars we can drive.

Why do we need to make cars less polluting and more efficient? Exhaust pipe pollution is linked to nearly 2 million new cases of childhood asthma each year. And the American Lung Association’s Zeroing in on Healthy Air Report shows that pollution from transportation and electricity generation threatens local community health, health care equity and is a driver of major health risks related to climate change .

There are also the growing costs of the climate crisis. Extreme weather events that endanger Americans and cost billions of dollars in costs are on the rise.

On April 12, 2023, the day EPA announced the proposed vehicle emissions standards, Administrator Michael Regan said, “Americans are seeing and feeling firsthand the devastating impacts of the climate crisis.” That same day, Fort Lauderdale residents experienced an unprecedented flash flood with more than two feet of rain in about seven hours.

Meteorologists – considered our most trusted local science communicators – warn that extreme events such as heat waves, intense wildfires and heavy rains are becoming increasingly common, linked to climate change and causing billion-dollar disasters.

We are overdue for progress on climate. Yet here we are in 2024 and the oil industry is still running ads highlighting our clinging to fossil fuels. Their lies may not be surprising or unexpected, but they still need to be exposed for what they are: a desperate attempt to lie to the public to protect their bottom line.

This is a crucial moment for the future of our planet. President Biden and the EPA must stand strong against fossil fuel interests that spread lies and disinformation and finalize strict pollution standards for cars and trucks so that Americans can realize all the benefits they will bring – for the climate, public health and our economy .

Jamie Henn is the founder and director of Fossil Free Media, a nonprofit media lab supporting the movement to end fossil fuels. Katherine García is director of the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *