Kicking Our Foreign Oil Addiction

If America ever wants to achieve true national security, we must wean ourselves off our dependence on foreign oil. It’s that simple.

At the moment, the U.S. imports more than 60 percent of its oil, with consumption continuing to rise. At the same time, over sixty percent of the world’s oil reserves are held in the Middle East, handcuffing our foreign policy.

As a nation, we need to accelerate the development and use of clean, domestic renewable energy. That is why I have continually worked over the years to increase the use of ethanol, reduce our oil consumption and give us an environmentally friendly, domestically produced source of fuel.

It is also why I introduced the Biofuels Security Act, together with Senator Dick Lugar and some other colleagues, the first day the new Congress opened. It was a signal that creating real energy security will be an important goal as we move forward this session.

This bill charts a clear path forward toward increasing our national use of renewable fuels, reaching a total of 30 billion gallons per year by 2020, and 60 billion gallons per year by 2030.

It also calls for increasing the number of gasoline stations that carry blends of 85% ethanol (E85) and directs automakers to gradually increase flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) production until nearly all vehicles sold in the U.S. are FFV’s within 10 years. Right now, flex-fuel vehicles – those able to use both regular gasoline and E85 – make up only about two percent of vehicles on the road.

I have also co-sponsored a bill with Senators Obama and Lugar, The American Fuels Act. This legislation would help decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil by increasing production, distribution and consumption of renewable fuels. The bill would increase production by mandating an increase in the creation of biodiesel, and by providing tax credits to spur new investment in cellulosic biomass fuels, which are considered the next generation in renewable fuels. The bill will work in concert with Biofuels Security Act.

For too long, we’ve depended on importing oil to meet our energy needs. But we are creating a roadmap to a long term ramp-up in domestically produced renewable fuels.  I believe if we are to attain national and economic security for our nation, we can and we must achieve these aggressive goals.

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