Motor Fuel Freedom

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The following was written by Congressman John Shimkus, who represents the 19th District of Illinois and serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

When I pulled up at the gas station last week I had two choices at the pump: petroleum or 85% ethanol blended with petroleum. Those were the only two fuels I could put in my Flex-Fuel Jeep without voiding its warranty. Both options are dependent on the price of oil and both are too expensive for American families with gas tanks and wallets running on E.

If only there were other options at the pump — other options that could compete with petroleum for our gas tank’s attention and lower the cost of filling up. That’s what my bipartisan Open Fuel Standard (OFS) Act aims to do.

The OFS starts by requiring half of new automobiles to safely operate under warranty on nonpetroleum fuels in addition to or instead of petroleum based fuels by 2014 — something automakers previously expressed both a willingness and ability to do by 2012. But it doesn’t stop there. The OFS would apply to 95% of new cars sold in America by 2017.

By guaranteeing America’s cars of the future will go into production, the Open Fuel Standard creates the economic certainty investors need to produce alternative fuels and to build fueling stations with a variety of pumps supplying both petroleum and nonpetroleum fuels. This allows for competition at the pump between gasoline, ethanol and methanol blends, liquefied coal, natural gas, hydrogen, biodiesel, and plug-in electrics. The end result is competition that lowers the price you pay for your fuel of choice at the pump.

Consumers, not government, should choose winners and losers in the marketplace. That’s why this legislation empowers you, the American driver, to decide what fuel you’ll choose to put in tomorrow’s cars, trucks and SUVs.

Last week I had a choice between petroleum and E85 at the gas station. In the next decade my goal is for all Americans to have a real choice when they pull up to a fueling station.

Connect with Congressman John Shimkus on Twitter and Facebook.

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