A lot of times, trying to get something done here in Washington can get pretty frustrating. There's bitter partisanship, petty politics, and a general atmosphere that isn't always conducive to passing legislation that people actually care about.
But I'm happy to report that today wasn't one of those days.
Today, the Senate passed my proposal, which will be included in the transportation bill, that would make it easier for people to fill their cars with a cheaper alternative to gasoline.
Now, I know most of you are as tired as I am of pulling into a gas station and seeing that the prices are even higher than they were the last time you filled up. It's $2.19, then it's $2.24, then it's $2.35, and up and up. When will it stop? As long as we're dependent on oil from the Middle East, we don't know.
That's why we need to stop just talking about energy independence and actually do something about it.
If someone told you that you could fill your cars and trucks with fuel that's 50 cents cheaper than current gas prices, you'd jump at the chance. But what a lot of people don't know is that this option is already out there. It's called E-85, and it's a fuel made of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. It's cleaner than gasoline, it's cheaper, and most importantly, it reduces our dependence on oil from the Middle East. In fact, the Indianapolis 500 thought it was such a good alternative that pretty soon, their entire fleet will run on E-85.
Right now, there are millions of cars and trucks that can run on E-85. You might even have one yourself. They're known as "flexible fuel vehicles," and the auto industry is turning out hundreds of thousands of them every year.
Of course, the reason you're not seeing more cars run on E-85 is that we've got a severe shortage of E-85 fuel stations. While there are more than 180,000 gas stations all over America, only about 400 offer E-85.
This is where my proposal comes in. It's going to cost stations to install E-85 pumps, so we thought we'd give them a tax credit that would encourage them to do so. As more and more stations realize how popular this cheap alternative to gas is becoming, more will utilize this tax credit and install their own pumps.
We've got to get serious about energy independence. You've all heard politician after politician making speeches about it, but we shouldn't have to wait any longer to finally see progress, especially since there's so much technology out there that we can use right now to make us less dependent on oil that comes from the Mideast and more reliant on fuel that we can grow in Illinois.