Harkin Leads Group of Senators in Introducing Bill to Expand Biofuels Markets Print
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Thursday, 27 January 2011 08:48
WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 25, 2011 - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today led a group of senators in introducing legislation aimed at expanding markets for biofuels.  The bill will increase the number of flex-fuel vehicles on the road, increase the number of blender pumps dispensing biofuels and authorize loan guarantees for the construction of renewable fuel pipelines.  As the former Chairman and now senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Harkin has been a long-time leader in promoting the production and use of biofuels as an important part of the nation’s energy strategy.  

“Because we import 60 percent of the petroleum we consume, our country is vulnerable to disruptions in the supply of petroleum and our economy faces a constant threat from volatile oil prices. With more than two-thirds of our petroleum supply consumed by our transportation sector, there is a tremendous opportunity to expand the production and use of biofuels, which is good for our American security and for our economy,” said Harkin. “Biofuels displace close to 10 percent of our gasoline supplies, and they have the potential to make significantly larger contributions.  The bill I am introducing today is an important step in our overall energy policy and a job generator for Iowa and our nation as a whole.”

Co-sponsors of the bill are: Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Al Franken (D-MN).

A copy of the bill can be found here. A summary of the bill follows:

Flex-fuel Vehicles

Mandates that increasing fractions of vehicles manufactured for sale in the U.S. be flex-fuel capable.  Those fractions are
50% in 2014 and 2015
90% in 2016 and beyond
The mandate doesn’t include vehicles that operate only on electricity

Blender Pumps

Defines “major fuel distributor” as a person that owns or directly markets the output of a refinery, but not including any person that directly markets through less than 50 retail fueling stations.

Requires major fuel distributors to install at least one blender pump at an increasing number of the refueling stations which they own or through which they market, according to the following schedule:
10% by 2014
20% by 2016
35% by 2018
50% by 2020 and thereafter
Allows trading of credits for excess blender pump installations to major fuel distributors with less than the required number.

Authorizes grants for installation of retail ethanol blend fueling infrastructure including blender pumps, tanks, and associated equipment.  Grants may be up to 50% of project costs.  These are not available to major fuel distributors.  Authorizes these amounts for appropriations:
$50,000,000 in 2012
$100,000,000 in 2013
$200,000,000 in 2014
$300,000,000 in 2015
$350,000,000 in 2016

Renewable Fuel Pipelines

Authorizes loan guarantees under the DOE Loan Guarantee Program for guarantees for loans covering 80% of project costs for renewable fuel pipelines.