Valero Energy

InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
Relationship Score
San Antonio, United States
Brands and Associated Companies:
Ultramar, Diamond Shamrock, Beacon
Official Web Site:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Valero Energy appears to be lobbying negatively on US climate change policy, with somewhat active engagement. The company demonstrates limited top-line communication on climate policy but has engaged negatively with specific policy intended to reduce GHG emissions. In particular, Valero lobbied extensively on the US Renewable Fuel Standard in 2019 and 2020, advocating a range of policy positions that would likely weaken the ambition of the policy.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Valero appears to have relatively limited top-line messaging on climate policy. While its 2021 TFCD Report references net zero ambitions, the company does not appear to have expressed a clear position on the need to reduce global emissions in line with a 1.5C target. Evidence from its 2018 report “Climate Risks and Opportunities” suggests it does not support drastic action to respond to climate change.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: Valero appears to have a mostly negative engagement with climate change policy. In September 2021 comments to the EPA, Valero appeared to oppose the proposed 2023 and Later Model Year Light­ Duty Vehicle GHG Emissions Standards. Valero served as a witness supporting Texas Senate Bill 1261 in May 2021, which would limit local jurisdictions' ability to regulate greenhouse gases. In July 2020, a Valero executive appeared to suggest Valero was unlikely to support a future US carbon tax due to concerns over the post-COVID economy and the risk of carbon leakage. This follows Valero making a major financial contribution to the No on 1631 campaign opposing a carbon tax in Washington State in October 2018. However, in April of 2021, a Valero executive suggested the company could be supportive of a carbon tax on an investor call.

Valero’s engagement with climate change policy appears most heavily focused on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). A particular point of concern has been the point of obligation of the policy. Valero Energy has advocated for this to be moved from refineries to fuel retailers and in January 2020 petitioned the US Supreme Court, arguing the EPA has violated the law by not considering such reforms (the EPA has warned that this change could undermine the policy by complicating enforcement). Valero has also taken legal action against the EPA over the RFS: in September 2019, it argued in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals that the mandates for biofuel set by the EPA were too high. Following this, in November 2019, Valero submitted a comment to the EPA opposing proposals to increase the percentage obligation of biofuels for refineries that did not hold exemptions. In April 2019, a Valero executive appeared to support waivers for small refineries from the RFS and in January 2020, it appeared to support the introduction of a high-octane gasoline standard after the Renewable Fuel Standard "sunsets" in 2020, which could lead to decreased share of biofuels if not accompanied by complementary policies.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Despite some positive top line statements of support, Valero does not appear to fully support the transition of the energy mix. In October of 2021, the company opposed the phase-out of fossil fuel production in California in comments to the California Air Resources Board. In its October 2021 Social Responsibility Report, the company provided arguments against the broad adoption of electric vehicles. In July 2020, CEO Joe Gorder stated that “fossil fuels are going to be with us for a very long time” and appeared to support increased future oil consumption. Similarly, in October 2020, prior to the US presidential election, a Valero executive appeared to support a long-term role for oil and gas in the energy mix, seeming to emphasize that a transition from these energy sources in line with IPCC guidelines was unlikely. In March 2019, Valero appeared to oppose proposals to transition the energy mix in San Antonio, Texas, to 100 per cent clean energy by 2050, citing an unfeasibly high economic cost. In August 2019, Valero supported legislation that would criminalize anti-pipeline protests in the USA and was reported in the San Antonion Business Journal to support a version in Texas in June of 2019.

Industry Association Governance: Valero has not produced a dedicated review of its membership to industry associations, beyond a list of those to which it has given funding above a certain threshold. In 2021, it did disclose limited information on the extent to which Valero is aligned with some groups on climate change policy and how it is engaging with them. Valero discloses membership in the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), but does not disclose several others, such as FuelsEurope, nor the fact that CEO Joe Gorder is President of the Board of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), another group actively and negatively engaged on climate change policy.

Strength of Relationship

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.