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Trump promises oil execs end to EV incentives, report says

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The fate of the EV industry might hinge on former President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. 

During a meeting in Florida, Trump told a room full of oil executives that in exchange for raising $1 billion in campaign funds for his reelection bid he would roll back a slew of environmental regulations, according to a report from the Washington Post. The oil executives reportedly balked at the transactional nature of Trump’s comments. 

Spending $1 billion to send him back to the White House would be a “deal” for the executives in attendance because of all the regulation and taxes they would avoid if he were in office, Trump said, according to the Post. 

Executives from Chevron, Exxon, and Occidental Petroleum were among the attendees, the Post reported. The Trump campaign, Chevron, and Occidental Petroleum did not respond to a request for comment from Fortune. Representatives from Exxon declined to comment. 

Included in those future regulatory cuts was a promise to undo a series of regulations meant to encourage automakers to invest in and manufacture more electric vehicles. The specific policy limits the amount of carbon emissions allowed from a car’s tailpipes. The new regulation essentially forces car companies to make more electric vehicles, which don’t have any tailpipe emissions. A transition away from gas-powered vehicles toward electric vehicles would harm energy companies that produce the gasoline that powers the cars targeted by the policy. According to the Post, Trump called the policy “ridiculous.”

That regulation in particular has drawn the attention of the oil and gas companies, which have spent millions in a lobbying campaign against it. They claim the policy is a de facto ban on combustion engine vehicles. The rule has also encountered strong resistance at the state level. Last month, just a few weeks after the regulation was announced, a group of 25 states sued to stop it on the grounds it would hurt the economy. 

Trump’s promise to reverse the regulation as soon as he took office comes at a time when the EV industry is already underwater. It’s facing declining consumer demand and industrywide struggles to develop a national charging network. Lawmakers around the world have also seized on the electric vehicle transition as a political boogeyman they say would raise prices for consumers and hurt domestic energy companies. President Joe Biden’s administration has moved to incentivize EV adoption, offering a $7,500 tax credit for households that bought one. 

Should Trump’s hopes come to fruition, they could upset some of the carefully laid plans of U.S. automakers that have invested billions on electric vehicles. GM, Ford, and Stellantis have all pledged to open factories specifically for EVs and the batteries that power them across the country. However, all three recently pared back their plans amid waning consumer demand. 

Throughout the meeting Trump reportedly also promised to get rid of other current regulations that energy companies have lobbied against. For example, Trump said he would remove the pause on export permits on liquified natural gas that the Biden administration had implemented, as it evaluated their environmental impact. During the exchange Trump also told executives that he would allow oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Alaskan Arctic. 

Those regulatory cuts are in stark contrast to Biden’s energy policies, which on Thursday were lauded by a group of 20 climate change organizations.

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