The U.S. Senate today adopted Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) amendment to provide tax credits for building E85 ethanol fueling stations into the Senate transportation bill. This proposal would encourage increased ethanol use, provide motorists who drive Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) with cheaper fuel, and help reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil.
"This bill will give motorists another option at the pump and will send a clear message that the United States Senate is serious about reducing our country's dangerous dependence on imported oil. I think that most Illinoisans would agree that a fuel made of 85 percent Midwestern corn is a lot more desirable than one made from 100 percent Middle Eastern Oil."
The legislation would provide a 50 percent tax credit for the cost of building a new E85 vehicle refueling facility, up to $30,000.
E85 is a blended fuel that contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. E85, a clean burning renewable fuel made from corn, can be used in FFVs, which can also use unleaded fuel when E85 isn't available. Standard vehicles can burn fuel with a 10 percent ethanol mix. Increased access to E85 fuel will benefit consumers right now because E85 is as much as 50 cents cheaper per gallon than unleaded gasoline.
"For too long our country has relied too heavily on foreign oil to fuel its energy needs, and American consumers are paying an increasingly heavy price for their lawmakers' inability to address this problem," said Obama. "Our dependence on foreign oil is keeping us tied to one of the most dangerous and unstable regions in the world."
There are currently 3.5 million FFVs on the road throughout the United States and 100,000 in Illinois. Vehicle manufacturers are expected to expand production of Flexible Fuel Vehicles when more fueling stations offer E85.
Nationwide, while there are more than 180,000 gas stations all over America, there are only about 400 E85 stations. In Illinois, there are approximately 20 gas stations that have the capability of offering E85.
"We've talked for too long about energy independence in this country. If Congress passes this bill, then we will finally have done something about it."