Washington, DC [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Policies are needed to support an aggressive, integrated approach by industry and government stakeholders to develop renewable fuels and advanced technology vehicles to overcome the nation’s future energy needs. In the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a Ford executive called on lawmakers to “act with urgency” to implement rapid production of renewable fuels, and the infrastructure to support them.“It is clear the solution to America ‘s energy challenges will need to come from advances in fuels and vehicle technology. The fact is, without the whole-hearted involvement of the oil industry, we cannot move forward far enough and fast enough,” said Sue Cischke, Ford’s vice president of environmental and safety engineering. “We obviously need key partners like the oil industry to invest in developing and marketing renewable fuels, like E85.” Only 600 of the 170,000 retail gas stations in the country currently carry E85 ethanol, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Cischke said expanding the availability of E85 will be critical to moving America toward energy independence. “For ethanol to be a real player in the transportation sector and lessen America’s dependence on foreign oil, we need a strong, long-term focus on policies that increase U.S. ethanol production and accelerate E85 infrastructure development,” Cischke said. “We need national research efforts to pursue producing ethanol from more energy-efficient cellulosic materials like rice straw, corn stover, switch grass, wood chips or forest residue.” Advocating an integrated approach between government and industry stakeholders, Cischke called for an expanded role for federal and state government, including tax credits for research and development and tax incentives for consumers and businesses to use renewable fuels. “We fully support government incentives to encourage and accelerate this investment,” she said. Ford has put more than 1.6 million ethanol-capable, or flex-fuel, vehicles on the road in the last decade, Cischke said. Ford’s portfolio consists of advanced technology vehicles to meet the various needs of consumers, including hybrids, flexible fuel vehicles, advanced clean diesels, hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines and fuel cells.