Sen. Leonard Lance held a press conference in Bedminster today, during which Lance released his 5 point plan to address the rising cost of fuel.
"Congress has done nothing to manage the out-of-control gas prices for working families, and with summer approaching it will only become worse. According to a poll conducted by CBS News, Americans now see gas prices as one of their top concerns," said Lance.
Prices have hit an all-time high today rising past $120 per barrel. According to AAA, the average price of gas in New Jersey was $2.21 when the Democrats took control of Congress. Now it's $3.34 - an increase of more than $1 per gallon. Nationally, gasoline has spiked to over $3.60 per gallon.
Lance continued "We need a comprehensive approach that brings about energy independence by increasing production, promoting conservation and encouraging renewable energy. We must also explore additional domestic production opportunities while remaining environmentally responsible to support our energy independence," concluded Lance.
In addition, increased investments should be made into clean technology alternative fuels, as well as eliminating tariff barriers that block Countries that have become self-sufficient from exporting their products into the U.S., which would increase supply sources of alternative energy.
The Lance plan (attached) highlights a number of ways to address the energy issues we face, including increased tax credits for hybrid vehicles, tax incentives for renewable energy, additional domestic production opportunities in the West and temporarily discontinuing deposits into the SPR until fuel prices stabilize.
Increase and Extend Federal Tax Credits and Incentives for Hybrid and Hydrogen Vehicles.
· Increase the amount of tax credits and indefinitely extend the program, which is currently set to sunset in 2009 under the U.S Energy Act of 2005. Streamline the process and remove the present cap that limits the tax credit to the first 60,000 cars sold per manufacturer. Studies show that if just 20 percent of cars used fuel cell technology, oil imports would be cut by 1.5 million barrels every day, according to the U.S. Fuel Cell Council.
· Introduce mass transit tax credits to further reduce gas demand.
· Set higher CAFE standards by 2020.
Provide Increased Tax Incentives for Renewable Energy
· Providing increased incentives will further promote the use of renewable energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal technology. According to the International Energy Association, demands for renewable energy fuels will more than quadruple in the next decade.
Explore Additional Domestic Production Opportunities While Remaining Environmentally Responsible
· The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the United States has 2 trillion barrels of oil locked in oil shale, primarily in western states.
· The United States has an additional 80 billion barrels of oil in tar sands, primarily in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. This will liberate the country from its dependence on foreign oil, while remaining environmentally responsible. Sen. Lance opposes domestic drilling off the Outer Continental Shelf.
· According to Petroleum Economist, "Although tar sands occur in more than 70 countries, a majority is also found in Canada in four regions: Athabasca, Wabasca, Cold Lake, Peace River; together covering an area of some 77,000 km. The reserve that is considered to be technically recoverable is estimated at 280-300 Gb (billions of barrels), larger than the Saudi Arabia oil reserves.
Eliminate Tariff and Trade Barriers that Prevent Importing of Alternate Energy Sources
· We must eliminate tariff barriers that hinder countries like Brazil that have become self sufficient from exporting their products into the U.S to increases supply of alternative energy sources.
Suspend Deposits into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR)
· Temporarily discontinuing deposits into the SPR until fuel prices stabilize will alleviate additional international demand, which places further upward pressure on prices. Currently the SPR holds over 700 million barrels of fuel, as of 4/28/08. (http://www.spr.doe.gov/dir/dir.html)