On the first day of the new Congress, Democratic North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan joined Senators Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., and introduced legislation that proposes a new renewable fuels standard of 60 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel to be included in the United States motor vehicle fuel supply annually by the year 2030 by boosting ethanol and biodiesel production to 30 billion gallons annually by 2020, and then doubling that quantity over the following ten years to 60 billion gallons by 2030.
Calls for increasing the number of gasoline stations that carry blends of 85% ethanol. The bill would require large oil companies to install E85 pumps at their stations, increasing by five percentage points annually over the next 10 years, resulting in approximately 50% percent of all major brand gasoline stations nationwide having E85 pumps available within a decade.
Directs automakers to gradually increase flex-fuel vehicle production, increasing in ten percentage-point increments annually, until nearly all vehicles sold in the U.S. are FFV's within 10 years. Currently, flex-fuel vehicles -- those able to use both regular gasoline and blends of up to 85 percent ethanol – make up only about two percent of vehicles on the road.
"We must work towards requiring more use of ethanol and significant long-term investment in renewable fuels to lead to a decrease of our nation's dependence on foreign sources of oil," said Sen. Dorgan. "This increase in ethanol production will expand job growth in the U.S."
Here are the other hot quotes from the sponsors:
"For too long, we've depended on importing oil to meet our energy needs. This legislation lays the roadmap to a long-term ramp-up in domestically produced renewable fuels. I believe if we are to attain national and economic security for our nation, we can and we must achieve these aggressive goals." - Sen. Harkin.
"Our nation must take seriously our future energy security, and I am hopeful that this Congress will consider the merits of this aggressive, yet prudent, bi-partisan legislation. -- Sen. Lugar.
"If it was not clear before, it is now: domestic energy policy is at the center of our foreign policy…We have no choice but to get smarter with our energy policy." - Sen. Biden.
"It's time for Congress to realize what farmers in America's heartland have known all along – that we have the capacity and ingenuity to decrease our dependence on foreign oil by growing our own fuel, but what we've been lacking is the political will." - Sen. Obama.