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AAA Watch

AAA and Big Oil Join Forces To Help Defeat California Proposition 87

Oil Companies Spend Over $100 Million and Drive Support from 61% in July to 45% on Election Day

Would Californians Let Chevron Drill in Their Backyard for Free? Apparently Yes.

Proposition 87 -- which would have imposed an extraction fee on oil company drilling in the State of California -- was defeated at the polls 45 to 55 percent on November 7.

The Clean Energy Initiative would have raised up to $4 billion through the fee to help fund renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in the state. It was endorsed by a coalition of environmental and public health organizations, as well as leaders like President Clinton and Vice President Gore.

AAA has a long tradition of opposing restrictions on--and alternatives to--the automobile: including mass transit, bicycle paths, and the Clean Air Act. The Auto Club of Southern California officially came out in opposition to California's Proposition 87. There is no word whether SCAAA contributed to the $100 million raised largely by oil companies to defeat the initiative.

The proposition, which required any additional costs “not be passed on to consumers through higher prices for oil, gasoline, or diesel fuel” was denounced by Thomas McKernan, President and CEO of the Automobile Club of Southern California among others. Opponents argued Prop 87 would result in higher gas prices and create a greater dependence on foreign oil, which would have placed an additional strain on school districts and municipality transportation budgets throughout the state. The initiative created an agency to manage the tax revenues and this was attacked as another new bureaucracy.

California is the only state without an extraction fee. Even Texas has a fee of 4.6%, with the revenues going to support schools/colleges.