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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolution

Location: Washington, DC


By Mr. OBAMA (for himself, Mr. TALENT, and Mr. DURBIN):

S. 918. A bill to provide for Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) refueling capability at new and existing refueling station facilities to promote energy security and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; to the Committee on Finance.

Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, we have all heard from folks back home about the high price of gasoline. When you pull into a gas station to fill up your tank, you're now paying some of the highest prices of all time.

And when you turn on the news, you see that our dependence on foreign oil keeps us tied to one of the most dangerous and unstable regions in the world. With oil at more than $50 per barrel, some argue that the best way to deal with high gasoline prices is to wait it out--to wait until the world market dynamics change.

I disagree with that mindset. For too long now, we've relied too heavily on foreign oil to fuel our energy needs in this country. This is not good for the United States--not for our economy, not for our national security, and not for our people.

The bill I am introducing today, along with my distinguished colleagues from Illinois and Missouri, is designed to do something about fuel prices and our reliance on foreign oil--something rooted in reality, something achievable in the short term, and something that actually works.

Last week, I visited a gasoline station in Springfield, IL, where along with regular gasoline, a new kind of fuel is offered for consumers--a fuel known as E-85. E-85 is a clean, alternative form of transportation fuel consisting of a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Ethanol is made from renewable, Midwestern corn, and it is 40-60 cents cheaper per gallon than standard gasoline. Last week, at this Springfield station, regular gasoline was listed at $2.06 and E-85 was selling for $1.69.

Not every car can run on E-85 fuel--but there are millions of cars that can. They're known as ``flexible-fuel vehicles,'' and the auto industry is turning out hundreds of thousands of them every year. And if any of you are wondering whether cars will run as well on E-85 as they would on regular gas, just ask the Indy 500, which recently announced that all of their cars will soon run on E-85 fuel.

The only problem we have now is that we're in short supply of E-85 stations. While there are more than 180,000 gas stations all over America, there are only about 400 E-85 stations. And although E-85 has many environmental benefits and is a higher performing fuel, the fuel economy of E-85 is slightly lower than that of regular gasoline. An additional incentive is needed to help ensure that the cost of this clean fuel remains competitive with that of regular gasoline.

That is why I'm introducing a bill to provide a tax credit of 50% for building an E-85 fuel station and a tax credit of 35 cents per gallon of E-85 fuel. This provision is similar to a provision that already has passed the Senate three times. I hope my colleagues will pass this provision again.

We've talked for too long about energy independence in this country, and I think this bill gives us an opportunity to actually get something done about it. I urge the support of my colleagues of this bill, and I thank the Chair.


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