We have suggested a pathway that will not only create that market access but continue to provide the necessary incentives for developing the next generation of biofuels – cellulosic ethanol – to help our nation meet our stated goals of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022.

Consumer choice at the pump is the most critical component of this plan to help us achieve this goal. Today there are about nine million Flex Fuel Vehicles in this country and the owners of these vehicles have a choice of fuel blends when they pull up to a Flex Fuel pump: E30, E50 or more. But unfortunately, there are fewer than 300 Flex Fuel pumps in the entire nation. Even as domestic automakers commit to making half their fleet Flex Fuel, the lack of pumps to serve this fleet means that most Flex Fuel Vehicles have never run on anything but gasoline.


That is why the recent proposal by Sens. Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate votes to take up infrastructure deal Senators say they have deal on 'major issues' in infrastructure talks Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill MORE (R-S.D.) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinNearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards Biden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Stripping opportunity from DC's children MORE (D-Calif.), to reform the ethanol tax credit, incentivize the production of next generation ethanol, promote market access through Flex Fuel pumps and reduce the federal deficit by $1.3 billion, deserves to be considered for passage.

The deal is not perfect. We could do much more to give motorists access to alternative fuels in the marketplace. But considering the rancorous debate on Capitol Hill, the fact that there is bipartisan agreement is reason enough to give their framework consideration. All three senators deserve praise for their work.

Ultimately, what the U.S. ethanol industry is looking for is the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, against global oil companies. Many of these oil companies would rather point fingers at the ethanol industry than agree to equity in access to the market.

Ethanol is the only commercially-viable alternative transportation fuel we have to foreign oil. But until alternatives like ethanol have access to the market – and consumers have choices other than gasoline derived from costly foreign oil – foreign oil companies will continue to dominate the market and compromise U.S. national security policy.

The Klobuchar-Thune-Feinstein agreement moves our nation in the right direction at a time when everyone should be stepping up to the plate. It deserves the support of the entire Congress.

Jim Nussle is a former Congressman from the state of Iowa and served as the director for the Office of Management and Budget under the George W. Bush administration. He currently serves as the President and COO of Growth Energy, the leading voice for the U.S. ethanol industry.