House and Senate Groups to Introduce “Fuel Choices for American Security Act”
15 November 2005
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the House and Senate tomorrow will introduce new legislation to cut US oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels a day over the next 10 years and significantly more thereafter.
The legislation is reportedly based on the energy security blueprint proposed by the Set America Free Coalition. Sponsors of the legislation include Sam Brownback (R-KS), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) in the Senate, and Representatives Jack Kingston (R-GA), Vice Chair of the Republican Leadership Conference, and Eliot Engel (D-NY) in the House.
The Set America Free blueprint urges immediate action along multiple fronts:
Provide incentives to auto manufacturers to produce and consumers to purchase, hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and FFVs across all vehicle models.
Provide incentives for auto manufacturers to increase fuel efficiency of existing, non-FFV auto models.
Conduct extensive testing of next-generation fuels across the vehicle spectrum to meet auto warranty and EPA emission standards.
Mandate substantial incorporation of plug-ins and FFVs into federal, state, municipal and covered fleets.
Provide investment tax incentives for corporate fleets and taxi fleets to switch to plug-ins, hybrids and FFVs.
Encourage gasoline distributors to blend combustion enhancers into the fuel.
Provide incentives for existing fueling stations to install pumps that serve all liquid fuels that can be used in the existing transportation infrastructure, and mandate that all new gas stations be so equipped.
Provide incentives to enable new players, such as utilities, to enter the transportation fuel market, and for the development of environmentally sound exploitation of non-traditional petroleum deposits from stable areas (such as Canadian tar sands).
Provide incentives for the construction of plants that generate liquid transportation fuels from domestic energy resources, particularly from waste, that can be used in the existing infrastructure.
Allocate funds for commercial scale demonstration plants that produce next-generation transportation fuels, particularly from waste products.
Implement federal, state, and local policies to encourage mass transit and reduce vehicle-miles traveled.
Work with other oil-consuming countries towards distribution of the above-mentioned technologies and overall reduction of reliance on petroleum, particularly from hostile and potentially unstable regions of the world.
I'd like to encourage the legislators not to "forget" that every diesel engine in operation is inherently flex-fuel. Biodiesel can be produced from dozens of existing new and recycled feedstocks with many more possible. Additionally, ethanol can be an ingredient in the process enabling the use of this higher BTU fuel that is very easily assimilated into our existing infrastructure.
Posted by: fred | 15 November 2005 at 04:13 PM
It seems lenient towards energy companies. More radical change is more effective. Tax always plays an important role in shaping the consumption pattern. Increase in federal tax on gasoline is one and so is the cost of registration and toll. A recent increase in toll between NY and NJ is a typical example.
Encouragement and/or incentive sounds like a voluntary act. Hesitation is inevitable. With the tax, everybody is going to do it NOW! The message is plain and simple. Everyone is not only doing it out of one's conscience but also for their own's pocket!
Posted by: Alfred | 15 November 2005 at 05:39 PM
Atleast people are actually talking about this stuff now...seems like a step in the right direction.
Posted by: Jason | 15 November 2005 at 06:31 PM
It seems lenient towards energy companies.
It's being sponsored by Republicans and conservative Democrats -- no way they were going to slip in any taxes. Besides: the public is more than willing for tUSA to require cars to get better mileage (and hence pay higher prices), but are dead-set against raising the gas tax. It'd cost them the same amount of money, and the gas tax would allow them to pay the tax over a period of time instead of all at once, but that's how it is.
Without a gas tax, there are two choices: make requirements and punish the companies who fail to follow the rules (aka THE STICK) or provide incentives for companies to behave properly (aka THE CARROT). Republicans tend to prefer THE STICK when dealing with people but THE CARROT with companies. Democrats do the opposite: use THE CARROT with people and THE STICK with businesses.
At this point, with Congress spending money at a rate never seen by Democrats and with Bush's tax cuts resulting in ginormous deficits, I'm not too worried about what this bill will cost; it'll be a pittance of what the Congress is spending now and will at least get more people thinking about progressing, and it might even help progress.
Posted by: stomv | 16 November 2005 at 05:26 AM
This should be done at the demand level, not the supply level. Rest assured, whatever subsidies the companies get will not be passed on to the consumer.
Look at all the incentives GM was given to produce hybrids and look how far they are behind. On the other hand, Toyota took the hybrid ball and ran with it.
Posted by: tom | 16 November 2005 at 09:16 AM
I think part of this play is to try to help bail out GM and Ford. You can argue whether or not the executives deserve the help, but clearly the tens of thousands of employees who would be out of a job (not paying taxes), lose their pension (covered by more taxes), their healthcare (yet more taxes), and public assistance such as welfare (even more taxes) gives tUSA strong incentive to make sure GM and Ford stay above water.
If they can help do that while moving tUSA toward better energy policy, that's probably a bill that has enough interest to pass in the GOP congress.
Posted by: stomv | 16 November 2005 at 09:47 AM
What strikes me is this legislation is being brought forward by a broad coalition of Democrats and Republicans, that can only be a good thing.
"Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) was joined today by Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) in introducing bipartisan legislation which is aimed at breaking America’s dependence on foreign oil."
Posted by: Jason | 16 November 2005 at 10:26 AM
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