Pennsylvania Governor Pushes for Bio- and Synthetic Fuels Standard (corrected)
10 May 2006
Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell used the opening of the first publicly-available E85 fueling station in Pennsylvania to announce a new initiative to produce 900 million gallons of bio- or synthetic fuels into the commonwealth’s gasoline and diesel supplies over the next decade.
The PennSecurity Fuels Initiative targets the use of ethanol, biodiesel or coal-to-liquids fuels (the last equipped with carbon offsets). Nine-hundred million gallons is the forecast amount of fuel that would be imported from the Persian Gulf to Pennsylvania in 10 years, according to the Governor’s office.
Elements of the PennSecurity Fuels Initiative include:
Requiring that a certain percentage of transportation fuels sold at retail in Pennsylvania contain eligible fuels. Eligible fuels include ethanol, biodiesel, coal-derived sources, methane gas derived from landfills or coal-mine methane used in transportation, and biodiesel used as a replacement for petroleum engine lubricants. Substitution of biofuel for petroleum-based home-heating products also will receive credit.
Investing $30 million in existing funds from the state’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant program over the next five years to build re-fueling and production infrastructure to support the standard for alternative fuel distribution to consumers.
Creating incentives that open new markets to Pennsylvania farmers who grow the feedstock to produce ethanol and biodiesel, and encourage clean technology that puts to use the state’s vast coal reserves. Extra credits will be provided for fuels derived from Pennsylvania feedstock.
Providing safeguards against price increases by allowing alterations or delays in the compliance schedule if prices of eligible alternative fuels rise above conventional fuels by a certain level for a prolonged period. Additionally, a credit trading system will be set up to further enhance the suite of compliance options.
The Governor tasked the departments of Environmental Protection and Agriculture with forming a stakeholder group with the General Assembly, trucking associations, refiners and fuel retailers, farming organizations, conservation groups and others to draft by 31 July legislation implementing the initiative.
If the legislation is implemented, Pennsylvania would become the fifth state—joining Hawaii, Minnesota, Montana and Washington&mash;with renewable fuel standards for transportation.
The PennSecurity Fuels Initiative is the transportation policy analog to the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, according to the Governor.
Pennsylvanians used 6.2 billion gallons of on-road gasoline and diesel in 2005. Projected retail gasoline and diesel usage in 10 years is estimated to top 7.7 billion gallons, according to federal projections.
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