INTRODUCTION OF THE TEAM (TO ENCOURAGE ALTERNATIVELY-FUELED VEHICLE MANUFACTURING) UP FOR ENERGY INDEPENDENCE ACT -- (Extensions of Remarks - July 28, 2006)
HON. ZOE LOFGREN
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2006
* Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California. Mr. Speaker, climate change threatens the security and stability of our planet. The temperature of the earth is increasing at a rate unseen in modern times. Climate forecasters predict that if greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere at the current rate, temperatures may rise dramatically, weather patterns sharply shift, ice sheets shrink, and seas rise.
* Rising gas prices and instability in oil producing regions have reinforced the need for the United States to secure our energy independence. We can make progress by developing and distributing alternatively fueled vehicles. Through innovation as well as existing technology, we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and promote energy efficiency and conservation to secure a safer future for our country and the environment.
* Alternatively fueled vehicles, such as those that use E85 ethanol fuel, could reduce our use of petroleum fuels by up to 40 percent, helping our country move towards sustainable energy independence. E85 ethanol fuel can be produced from agricultural products grown here in the United States, so that money spent on fuel supports farmers in the Midwest, not countries in the Middle East.
* Congress must do more to make alternative fueled vehicles practical and accessible to every American. There are currently only six million E85-capable vehicles on U.S. roads, compared to approximately 230 million gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles, according to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition. Only 556 fuel stations in the entire country currently provide E85 fuel, with only four of these located in California.
* That is why I am introducing this bill to encourage manufacturers to provide a flex fuel opportunity to American consumers and to develop the infrastructure necessary for a cleaner energy future. We must do more to make alternatively fueled vehicles practical and accessible to everyone. The cost of producing flex fuel capable vehicles is minimal at the time of manufacture, but there are currently few incentives for the production of flex fuel vehicles and a lack of infrastructure to service them.
* My bill will encourage the production of more alternatively fueled vehicles by phasing in a tax penalty on the manufacture or import of new, non-flex fuel vehicles. However, since the cost to manufacture fleets that are flex fuel capable as compared to gasoline powered vehicles is nearly nil, it will be easy for manufacturers or importers to avoid these costs completely. Any revenues generated would be used to help independent gas station owners install alternative fuel equipment. This bill is a good first step towards securing our energy independence, and I hope that Congress will move quickly to pass this important legislation and help America move towards a more secure and sustainable future.