Shortage of alt fuels
The group said that because the renewable fuel standard requires 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels in the market by 2022, most Americans would not even be able to take advantage of their cars' new capabilities.
"In other words, 10 years and $20 billion in higher vehicle costs later, most drivers still will not be able to find or use alternative fuel in most of the country," McCurdy said.
E85, the most common form of flex fuel in the United States, can currently be found at an estimated 1,600 filling stations and is not available in five states, according to DOE. The department estimates there are currently less than 8 million flex-fuel vehicles on the nation's roadways.
Supporters of flex-fuel mandates argue that the technology is relatively inexpensive to add to fleet offerings and that an increase in the number of flex-fuel vehicles on the road will create the market incentives necessary to spur growth of alternative fuel production and distribution, helping to break the nation's dependence on foreign oil.
Legislation similar to Engel's has been introduced by a host of bipartisan lawmakers, including Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), and former Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), who now serves as secretary of the Interior Department.
Despite the flex-fuel mandate, the energy and climate effort has a handful of perks for the ailing industry.
It would double a $25 billion DOE loan program to help carmakers and parts suppliers produce more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, would create a "cash for clunkers" program to pay Americans to scrap their old vehicles and buy new fuel-efficient ones, and would give the industry free allowances -- starting at 3 percent of the allocations, before being slowly phased out -- in exchange for making more advanced cars and trucks, such as all-electric and hybrid vehicles.
Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500