Bioenergy

Sen. Obama Pushes for Ethanol Growth

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama from Illinois has proposed legislation to provide a tax credit that will benefit the construction of E85 ethanol fueling stations throughout the country.

This proposal would encourage the use of more ethanol and help to provide motorists who drive flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) with a cheaper gas. “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. “If you turn on the news, you can see that our dependence on foreign oil is keeping us tied to one of the most dangerous and unstable regions in the world. And if you pull into most service stations around the country and want to fill up your tank, you will pay some of the highest gas prices of all time.” The legislation would provide a 50 percent tax credit for the cost of building a new E85 vehicle refueling facility, with a credit limit up to $30,000. Funds from penalties on auto manufacturers that violate fuel mileage standards would pay for the tax credit. Mileage standard penalties are assessed by the National Highway Safety Administration. E85 contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. It is a cleaner burning renewable fuel made from corn and is appropriate for use in designated FFVs, which can also use unleaded fuel when E85 isn’t available. Standard vehicles can burn fuel with a 10 percent ethanol mix. There are currently 3.5 million FFVs on the road throughout the United States, according to Obama, and vehicle manufacturers are expected to expand production of Flexible Fuel Vehicles when more fueling stations offer E85. Nationwide there are more than 180,000 gas stations all over America, but only about 400 carry E85. Illinois is home to approximately 20 gas stations that have the capability of offering E85. “We should all be proud of Governor Blagojevich for leading the way on E85 here in Illinois,” Obama said. “It is time for the Federal government to join this important cause — not only for our farmers, our ethanol producers and our environment, but to restore our country’s control of its energy future.”