News | METRANS Welcomes the Western States Petroleum Association!

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The METRANS Transportation Consortium welcomes the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) as the newest member of the METRANS Associate Program (MAP). WSPA is a trade association that represents petroleum interests in five states—Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington—whose members provide the energy necessary for freight and supply chain logistics. Recently, the METRANS editorial team sat down with Jodie Muller, WSPA’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Chief Operating Officer, to discuss WSPA’s role in transportation and freight logistics.

WSPA along with its membership of energy industry leaders has over 100 years of experience addressing a wide range of issues related to the fuel supply chain, Muller said, noting that WSPA supports METRANS research-driven approaches to the intersection of transportation and energy. She emphasized her appreciation of METRANS research, such as METRANS Director Genevieve Giuliano’s work on heavy-duty trucks. “[The research] really struck the balance of interests,” Muller said, “which is what interested WSPA in the first place – the need to continue information sharing and communicating to formulate the most non-biased policies through dialogue.”

For the future, Muller also highlights the significance of an ‘all-of-the-above' strategy that views the marketplace from a broad range of perspectives. The fuel supply chain exists as a highly interconnected system attempting to balance an intricate set of diverging state policies and contexts. For instance, variations exist in each state’s regulatory environment, with California choosing to take a predominantly electric pathway to address climate change concerns. Although petroleum may be a highly stigmatized fuel, especially regarding its environmental impact, Muller points out the need to take a holistic view of energy, focusing on several potential sources, and synthesizing national energy needs to ensure that, particularly in times of crisis, everyone can access affordable fuels.

In fact, several WSPA members are already taking on the challenge of envisioning fuels for the future by changing their business model to simultaneously capture consumer needs and reduce emissions, as well as create opportunities for global populations through workforce and social investments. Many are spearheading new energy sources ranging from solar and wind power to renewables. Similarly, WSPA is not only concerned with the policies focused on transportation and freight, but also the communities where the facilities of their members reside. Muller highlighted the relationships WSPA has with each community to meet their needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, WSPA gave away over $25,000 in gift cards to first responders during the pandemic, alleviating some of the stress for community members.

As Muller emphasizes, “petroleum fuels are the cornerstone of life,” the key to developing a variety of products ranging from pharmaceuticals to smartphones, cosmetics, and even the technology that produces renewable alternatives like electric vehicles. Petroleum fuels create a foundation that substantially impacts a range of everyday processes, whether there is an awareness of it or not. On this front, the WSPA emphasizes the need to expand public knowledge of the relationship between petroleum and its use in everyday life.

METRANS looks forward to working with the WSPA to conduct research and education that supports emissions reductions in the most efficient ways possible.