Valero Pumps Up Cap-and-Trade Debate

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Valero Pumps Up Cap-and-Trade Debate

SAN ANTONIO -- Valero Energy Corp. is dispensing a federal policy position with its gasoline, according to a report by a Houston-area Fox affiliate.

Valero-branded gas stations and convenience stores are displaying pump signs that show Uncle Sam and the warning: "If Congress passes Cap-and-Trade Legislation, you will pay the price."

The signs also tell customers: "Cap-and-Trade will cost you 77 cents or more a gallon." They direct consumers to a Valero Web site opposing a bill intended to limit greenhouse gases.

"It's definitely unprecedented for Valero," company spokesman Bill Day told the Fox station. "We've never done something like this before. But this particular issue is so important and this particular piece of legislation is so demonstrably bad that we did take the lead on this."

The bill pending before Congress holds refiners solely responsible for their product's carbon footprint, Day said.

"So when you and I and everybody else drives their car, the manufacturer of the fuel in that car is the one responsible for the carbon emissions, not the owner of the car, not the driver," Day told the Fox affiliate.

Valero estimated the company could face $6 billion in carbon allowances every year, more than the company made in its most profitable year.

Environmentalists, however, assert refiners are not worried about the cost of Cap-and-Trade legislation.

"They're worried about the fact that they know they're going to pass that [cost] on to the consumer and that's going to drive the consumer even more quickly to get away from oil," Matthew Tejada, executive director of the Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention, told the Fox affiliate.

Tejada disputes Valero's claim on its website that Cap-and-Trade legislation would make "no measurable improvement on global climate change."

"If somebody doesn't want Cap-and-Trade and they aren't offering a more viable solution, what they're really saying is 'We don't want to deal with greenhouse gases, we don't want to deal with global warming,'" Tejada said.

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