In a victory for Americans hurt by the price of gasoline this summer, legislation to promote the implementation of viable alternatives to oil to meet transportation needs passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today. Introduced by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Debbie Stabenow (D- Mich.), the Alternative Fuels Vehicles Competitiveness and Security Act will increase energy security and reduce dependence on foreign oil by supporting the manufacturers of alternative fuel vehicles and their suppliers while promoting the evolution of fuel resources such as biomass, electricity, hydrogen and natural gas.
In a two-pronged approach to increasing fuel options, the bill expands Federal programs already in existence that give manufacturers of alternative fuel vehicles and the suppliers the support they need to build their businesses and promote demand for fuel alternatives to oil. The bill also invests in the infrastructure to supply natural gas, propane, electricity, biofuels and hydrogen to the new crop of alternative fuel vehicles offering lower-carbon alternatives to oil.
"The Senate Energy Committee showed their commitment to breaking the grip of foreign oil today by siding with the innovators of alternative fuel vehicles and the fuels that will someday replace foreign oil," Wyden said. "The bill that Senator Stabenow and I wrote promotes the manufacturers of the next generation of alternative fuel vehicles and the fuels to make them go but does it in a way that allows the market to decide which of these fuels works best without giving any one fuel a monopoly on transportation."
"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. Our plan that the Energy Committee passed today will help deploy new technologies to create more competition in the market and give consumers more choices beyond paying high gas prices."
Recognizing that a "one size fits all" approach to replacing foreign oil may not be the most efficient approach, the bill seeks to expand the universe of alternative vehicles and fuel types and allow the market to decide which is best. This approach guarantees competition between different fuel types and vehicle technologies and means that the American public could receive options to fueling their vehicles based on what works best for a particular technology or in a particular region of the country. This bill breaks not only the grip of foreign oil and promotes domestic security, it goes a long way toward introducing choice and competition into the fuel industry.