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In Support of H. R. 3221 and H. R. 2776

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 3221 AND H.R. 2776 -- (Extensions of Remarks - August 04, 2007)

* Mr. DONNELLY. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the House Energy Package. And I would like to commend the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee for putting together a strong package that will set our Nation on the path for a more reliable and efficient energy policy. I would also like to thank Chairman DINGELL and Chairman RANGEL for including my bill, H.R. 2505, The E-85 PUMP Act as part of this important legislation.

* We all recognize that the path to energy independence will require a number of alternative energy solutions--and ethanol has an important role to play in achieving this goal.

* In Indiana's Second District, we have been blessed with the resources to serve as a center for the production of a new generation of ethanol and other bio-fuels. And I am committed to making sure Midwest farmers are an integral part of our Nation's energy strategy.

* However, as ethanol production continues to reach record levels, only 1 percent of America's approximately 168,000 gas stations offer E-85 gasoline. That is only one E-85 pump for every 6,000 vehicles on the road.

* While there are several reasons why ethanol has yet to fully mature on the market, a significant factor is that many big oil companies use a number of strategies to make it difficult for franchised gas stations to offer E-85.

* For example, standard contracts issued by many large oil companies require franchisees to purchase fuel directly from their distributors. Since these distributors do not offer E-85, gas stations are unable to offer an alternative fuel. Other companies prohibit franchisees from selling E-85 under the main canopy, require E-85 to be displayed on separate signs, and prohibit franchisees from accepting franchise credit cards for the purchase of E-85.

* These tactics not only limit consumer choice, but also reinforce our dependence on foreign oil.

* My provision would prohibit an oil company from restricting the right of a franchisee to install E-85 pumps or sell or advertise E-85 fuel. In addition, it would also expand the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit to allow gas station owners to claim a credit on 50 percent of the costs associated with installing or converting equipment to sell E-85 up to $50,000. In short, this bill will provide tax incentives for gas station owners who want to--and should--do the right thing.

* These important changes will not only improve consumer access to alternative fuels, but will also make it easier for local businessmen and women to invest in our energy security, environment, and our communities.

* Alternative energy sources, like E-85, are critical for ending our dependence on foreign oil, reducing the impact of climate change, and creating jobs across this country. And I greatly appreciate the Committee's inclusion of my E-85 PUMP Act in today's legislation.

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