The Open Fuel Standard Has Been Introduced to Congress

Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-27) introduced the Open Fuel Standard Act (H.R. 2493) which would require 30 percent of new automobiles in 2015, 50 percent in 2016, and 50 percent in each subsequent year, to operate on nonpetroleum fuels in addition to or instead of petroleum based fuels. The bill also features original co-sponsors Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY-03), Allyson Schwartz (D-PA-13), Tom Cole (R-OK-04), Collin Peterson (D-MN-07) and Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam).

The bill allows the full array of existing technologies – including flex fuel, natural gas, hydrogen, ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, plug-in electric drive, and fuel cell – as well as a catch-all for new technologies. This requirement would provide certainty to investors encouraging the production of alternative fuels and fueling stations and to have a variety of pumps supplying those alternative fuels.

Rep. Engel said, “Our economy and our national security are threatened by our dependence on foreign oil. An Open Fuel Standard will help us to get off our oil addiction. For several years, I have championed bipartisan legislation to apply an Open Fuel Standard to all vehicles sold in America – not just those in the federal fleet. I believe achieving energy independence for our nation is of the utmost importance. We are reliant upon too many foreign governments, many of whom are far from friendly, for our oil supply. Our transportation sector is by far the biggest reason we send $600 billion per year to hostile nations to pay for oil at ever-increasing prices. Only through technology changes in our transportation sector will we make a substantial impact on our oil dependence.” Rep. Engel is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said, “An open fuel competition in our transportation sector is one of the easiest ways we can bolster our national security. Instead of providing billions of dollars to regimes antagonistic to the United States, taxpayers can reinvest their money into the American economy and jobs by supporting all of the booming fuel industries here at home. The Open Fuel Standard Act will allow all fuels, including traditional gasoline, to compete for the American consumer, lowering the price of fuel,  and strengthening our energy and national security.”

Every year, Americans send $600 billion overseas to buy oil mostly to power our transportation economy, which is 95% dependent on gasoline and diesel fuel. The Open Fuel Standard is an immediate and effective way to strengthen national security, lower the cost of fuel, and requires no expenditure from the federal government. Providing new cars with flexible fuel capability would cost around $100 per car and provide huge dividends to the consumer.

Rep. Engel has added the Open Fuel Standard as an amendment to 10 appropriations bills over the last three years to conform with President Obama’s 2011 Memorandum on Federal Fleet Performance, to require all new light duty vehicles in the federal fleet to be alternate fuel vehicles, such as hybrid, electric, natural gas, or biofuel, by December 31, 2015.

Rep. Israel said, “An open fuel standard will decrease our dependence on foreign oil while also lowering the cost of fuel for American consumers. We must reduce our reliance on foreign oil, and an open fuel standard is the perfect place to start. I encourage my colleagues to pass this common-sense, bipartisan bill.”

Rep. Schwartz said, “The bipartisan Open Fuel Standard Act is simply common sense. It will decrease our dependence on oil produced by unstable, politically volatile countries, while driving economic growth and protecting our environment.”

Rep. Cole said, “We live in a nation teeming with great minds and innovators. For years, we’ve overlooked development and potential use of alternative fuels and instead retained an unhealthy dependence on foreign oil. I am pleased that this legislation encourages the use of alternatives, including natural gas. Oklahoma energy companies have made great strides in discovering, drilling and refining the rich supply of natural gas across the country, and their innovation will do much to move our country away from our dependence on non-domestic sources of energy.”

We will keep you updated on the progress of this bill, and let you know what you can do to help it pass. If you haven’t already, please sign up for our email updates here.