Shimkus introduces bill to create open fuel standard

By Office of Rep. John Shimkus | May 04, 2011

Congressmen John Shimkus R-Ill., Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., and Steve Israel, D-N.Y., today introduced the Open Fuel Standard Act (HR 1687), which is intended to bring fuel competition to the pump.

The OFS would require that 50 percent of new automobiles in 2014, 80 percent in 2016, and 95 percent in 2017, would be warranted to operate on nonpetroleum fuels in addition to or instead of petroleum based fuels.  Compliance possibilities include the full array of existing technologies – including flex fuel, natural gas, hydrogen, biodiesel, plug-in electric drive, and fuel cell – and a catch-all for new technologies.  This requirement will then provide certainty to investors to produce alternative fuels and fueling stations to have a variety of pumps supplying those alternative fuels.

“My goal is for the consumer to have the choice when they pull up to the pump.  A choice of fuels made from oil, coal, renewables, natural gas, waste products, and other feedstock,” Shimkus said.  “The consumer can then make a choice based on price or the energy source.  In addition, this is one way for our nation to move toward energy independence.”

“Our dependence on oil is fueled by demand from our transportation sector.  It is by far the biggest reason we transfer $600 billion per year to hostile nations to pay for oil at ever-increasing costs.  By employing the Open Fuel Standard, we can force petroleum to compete on the open market with other types of fuel.  We don’t have to wait for the perfect technology.  We can turn this around right now, at little to no cost, and create a safer and more prosperous America,” said Engel. 

Bartlett said, “The International Energy Agency documented that worldwide conventional crude oil production peaked in 2006-2007.  As a result, Americans face the prospect of repeated oil supply shocks and ruinous price spikes.  This technology neutral Open Fuel Standard legislation will give Americans options they can choose to end their personal dependence and the strategic monopoly of oil for transportation. That’s why we have come together as Republicans and Democrats to support OFS as a key step to break the cycle of pain at the pump.” 

“As any driver who has recently filled up their tank knows, gas prices are simply unsustainable.  In order to end big oil’s stranglehold on our economy and transportation industry, we need to phase them out.  By requiring auto companies to convert their fleets to flex fuel vehicles, we will be giving consumers the choices they deserve,” added Israel. 

The Big Three automobile companies have in the past stated their willingness to make 50 percent of new vehicles flex fuel by 2012.  The cost of doing so is about $100 per vehicle.  In Brazil the ratio of flex-fuel vehicles went from zero to 70 percent in just three years.