The oil industry vs. the electric car

Electric vehicles could make up nearly half the fleet of passenger cars and trucks by 2040. But oil and gas companies are striking back.

The oil industry is trying to crush the booming electric car movement.

Groups backed by industry giants like Exxon Mobil and the Koch empire are waging a state-by-state, multimillion-dollar battle to squelch utilities’ plans to build charging stations across the country. Environmentalists call the fight a reprise of the “Who Killed the Electric Car?” battles that doomed an earlier generation of battery-driven vehicles in the 1990s.

Electric cars charging in Milton Keynes (Image: T. Larkum)

Electric cars charging in Milton Keynes (Image: T. Larkum)

Oil-backed groups have challenged electric companies’ plans in 10 states, according to utility commission filings reviewed by POLITICO, waging regulatory and lobbying campaigns against the proposals. The showdown is taking place as utilities, eager to increase the demand for power, push for approval to build charging networks in locations such as shopping centers and rest stops in more than half the nation.

“Fossil fuel interests control 90 percent of the transportation fuel market in the U.S. and are really feeling threatened,” said Gina Coplon-Newfield, director of the electric vehicle initiative at the Sierra Club.

The counterattack involves an array of trade associations and industry-funded political groups representing every segment of the petroleum sector.

Read more: Politico

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