President Joe Biden was quick to take credit for reopening the Colonial Pipeline (before a technical glitch brought it down again) and helping drivers fighting gas shortages — an ironic move considering the war he is waging on fossil fuels.
Biden tweeted that it was thanks to the “extraordinary measures [his] administration has taken” that over 5 million vehicles were able to fuel up. The federal government relaxed rules for pipeline operators which provided some flexibility for personnel to help manually get sections of the pipeline reoperating. There were emergency orders put in place which allowed states to lift their weight restrictions for truck drivers in order for them to deliver more fuel in the region. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a 20-day waiver of federal standards in some eastern states to allow fuel suppliers to have more flexibility to use limited available fuel where necessary.
But when you break it down, roughly 11 states were affected by the pipeline shutdown. North Carolina saw the worst of it with 65% of its gas stations out of service. As of 2016, North Carolina was estimated to have roughly 7 million drivers on the road. When you account for the other ten states affected, 5 million vehicles doesn’t amount to much.
The Biden administration’s victory lap as shortages subside is hypocritical considering the president’s well-documented stance on fossil fuels: “We are going to get rid of fossil fuels.” “We’re going to phase out fossil fuels.” “I would transition away from the oil industry, yes.”
One of his first moves as president was to end the construction of the Keystone Pipeline, which abruptly ended an estimated 11,000 jobs. The pipeline would have boosted economic growth, adding more than $3 billion towards U.S. GDP. Not to forget, the pipeline would have been a great stride towards American energy independence, delivering safe, secure crude oil. Aiming at long-term operation and security, the Keystone Pipeline took advanced measures to be environmentally friendly, not only meeting, but exceeding federal regulations. Now, in his latest tweet, President Biden is proud to have delivered fuel to millions of vehicles, and he wants you to know it.
Biden’s plan is to achieve zero CO2 emissions in the U.S. by 2050. To do so, he proposed an estimated $1 trillion investment by ending all government support for oil, gas and coal corporations and allocating that money instead to other climate initiatives. This is ironic because over time, the government has subsidized unreliable energy sources, like wind and solar, significantly more than fossil fuels.
Transportation is the largest energy consuming sector, over 91% accounting for the use of petroleum, while renewables only account for 5%. This aggressive climate action plan includes phasing out gasoline-powered vehicles. In order to reach zero emissions by 2050, Biden has been advised that all new car sales should be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. Private companies, including Uber and Lyft, have already begun their process of phasing out the use of gas-powered vehicles and shifting towards only using electric vehicles, a move that will put more Americans out of work.
The ramifications of anti-fossil fuel policies go far beyond our personal vehicles. Different lifestyles and industries require different vehicles. Farmers, ranchers, and other laborious jobs require trucks and trailers. So what happens to Farmer John when he’s told he has to trade in his natural gas dually? He’s told to go to Tesla and take a look at the new Cybertruck. Semi-trucks, which deliver goods all over the country, will also be phased out. Trucking companies will be directed to electric options like the Tesla Semi, which has a price tag of an estimated $100,000 on the battery alone. While the government insists that the switch to electric vehicles will be “cheap,” rising inflation and the current car scarcity suggests otherwise.
It is impractical to believe that phasing out gas-powered vehicles will save the human race. Besides the fact that coal powers electric charging stations, electric cars are not zero emission vehicles; on average they produce more than eight metric tons of CO2 in manufacturing and production, plus an additional two metric tons of CO2 per year based on the energy mix used for electric generation. Even if electric cars were as climate-friendly as advocates claim, the science doesn’t support their reputation as a cure-all for climate change. Even eliminating all fossil fuel consumption nationwide would barely shift global temperatures.
The manufacturing of lithium batteries also comes with environmental and human rights concerns, including child slavery, massive water usage, pollution, and more. China is currently the world leader in battery production, as it is in solar panel production. China has been accused of using enslaved Uighur Muslims for its rapid production of these products.
The U.S. will not be the first country to attempt zero emissions, but we will just be another country to try and fail. Solar and wind powered energy may sound intriguing, but they will never be reliable. Perhaps the Colonial Pipeline shutdown will show fossil fuel foes just how important a role fossil fuels play in our everyday lives, and why phasing them out will be costly and impractical.
So today you can thank President Biden for delivering fuel for your vehicle. Soon you can thank him when you can no longer use it.
This commentary originally appeared in The Cannon Online on May 19, 2021.