Several new pieces of legislation were recently introduced to the 110th U.S. Congress that deal with increasing the production of renewable fuels and making these fuels more available to motorists nationwide, all in an effort to significantly decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil.
The Renewable Fuels and Energy Independence Promotion Act, introduced by Representatives Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and Kenny Hulshof (R-MO), would make the federal biodiesel and ethanol tax incentive permanent, as well as the small agri-biodiesel producer and small ethanol producer credits. The tax credits are set to expire in 2008 and 2010 respectively.
“We must do everything we can to encourage the production of renewable fuels as our nation strives for energy independence. Making this tax credit for biodiesel and ethanol permanent is a critical component of that effort,” said Pomeroy.
Previous legislation introduced by Pomeroy and Hulshof in 2003 revealed that these tax incentives were the primary building-block for new plants and jobs in biodiesel for both the rural and urban areas. Commenting on the new legislation, Joe Jobe, National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Executive Director, said, “Introducing this legislation is a positive message to policymakers, the biodiesel industry, and all Americans that biodiesel has an important role to play in U.S. energy policy. A permanent tax incentive gives confidence for continued biodiesel industry growth.”
In another effort to achieve America’s energy independence, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Barack Obama (D-IL), and Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced their bill, the American Fuels Act of 2007. The bill’s main goals are to increase the production, distribution, and consumption of renewable fuels. A mandate would be set to increase the production of biodiesel. Distribution would be increased by offering a tax credit to ethanol producers who blend and sell their fuels on site to avoid high shipping costs. To increase the consumption of biofuels, this legislation would provide tax credits to the automotive industry to produce more ethanol-capable vehicles and would require all federal vehicles to be fuel-efficient by 2014.
“Obviously this is not a short-term proposition, but we can off-set a significant portion of demand for oil by giving American consumers a real choice of automotive fuel,” said Lugar.
Senators Harkin, Lugar, Obama, Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Joe Biden (D-DE) also introduced the Biofuels Security Act of 2007, which is designed to complement the American Fuels Act of 2007 by increasing the renewable fuels standard (RFS) to 60 million gallons per year by 2030. The bill calls for all federal vehicles to be flexible fuel vehicles by 2017, and would require major oil companies to offer E85 at half of their gas stations by the same year.
While alternative fuels remain on the minds of our governmental leaders, there is no doubt that more legislation concerning this topic will be introduced in the near future. For more information on the bills covered here please see the U.S. government Web site (www.usa.gov).