May 17, 2011

Wyden, Stabenow Bill Uses Alternative Transportation Fuels to Reduce Dependence on Foreign Oil

Bill Takes “Pursue All Options” Approach to Alternative Fuels Giving the Market the Ability to Choose How to Best Replace Oil

Washington, D.C. – As the price of gas at the pump continues to drain Americans’ wallets, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Debbie Stabenow (D- Mich.) have introduced legislation to increase energy security and reduce dependence on foreign oil by integrating many types of cutting edge alternative fuel sources into our transportation infrastructure.

Using a two pronged approach to increasing fuel options, the Alternative Fuels Vehicles Competitiveness and Security Act of 2011will expand existing Federal programs to give manufacturers of alternative fuel vehicles and their suppliers the support they need to build their businesses and to meet a growing demand. The bill also invests in lower-carbon fuels infrastructure to supply natural gas, propane, electricity, biofuels, and hydrogen to fuel for this new generation of vehicles and limit oil use.

“The price of oil wouldn’t matter as much if Americans had more ways to get from point A to point B without oil,” Wyden said. “The technology exists.  There are already ways to use electricity and other clean fuels to power  cars, trucks, buses, and off-road vehicles.  This bill makes these technologies more accessible, giving Americans alternatives to energy while letting the market decide which of these new fuels will work best for different types of vehicles and for different parts of the country.”

“Families are now spending as much on gas as they are for health care, and almost as much as they spend on groceries," said Sen. Stabenow, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee with jurisdiction over biofuels and other clean energy sources. "We need a fundamental change in our energy policy to break the stranglehold of the oil companies and the Middle East cartels. The plan we're putting forward today will help deploy new technologies to create more competition in the market and give consumers more choices beyond paying outrageously high gas prices.”

The goal of the legislation is to expand the universe of alternative vehicle and fuel types and allow the market to decide which fuel or group of fuels is best to replace oil. The bill embraces a “pursue all energy options” approach recognizing that a one size fits approach all may not be the most efficient way to power a wide variety of transportation options like cars, light trucks, heavy trucks, trains etc.  Using the savings from capping the size of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to 90 days of non-NAFTA crude imports, the programs in the bill will increase investment in alternative fuels and the technologies they power while increasing domestic manufacturing capabilities and creating jobs. The bill does this without designating “winners and losers” among the various technologies and alternative fuels and instead allows the free market to decide which fuel and technology combinations work best in each region of the country.