Bayh, Lugar Introduce Bill to Reduce Dependence on Foreign Oil

DRIVE ACT includes the increased production of ethanol and tax incentives to encourage the production of fuel efficient vehicles.

Published: 20-Jan-2007

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, joined by Senator Richard Lugar and a bipartisan coalition of Senators today introduced bipartisan legislation he authored to break America’s dependence on foreign oil. Through a variety of steps including increased production of ethanol and tax incentives to encourage the production of fuel efficient vehicles, the DRIVE Act would reduce U.S. oil use by seven million barrels per day in 20 years – more than twice what we import from the Middle East today.

"Meeting our future energy needs is one of the great challenges of this generation, and one that will impact everything from our national security to our economy," Senator Bayh said. "With cosponsors from the right, left, and across the country, my energy plan offers a realistic solution to reducing our dependence on foreign oil. I’m especially pleased to have Senator Lugar join me in this effort, based on his strong record on energy."

"The heart of America's geostrategic problem is reliance on imported oil in a market that is dominated by volatile and hostile governments. We can offset a significant portion of future demand for oil by giving American consumers a real choice when it comes to the cars they drive and the fuels that power them, " said Lugar.

The DRIVE Act is the re-introduced version of the Vehicle and Fuel Choices for American Security Act from the 109th Congress, which attracted 28 Senate co-sponsors last year. The bipartisan legislation was supported by Senators from across the ideological and geographical spectrum, and the re-introduced bill is expected to build on that support. Twenty-two senators have already signed up to co-sponsor the DRIVE Act upon its re-introduction today.

Among the steps outlined in the bill are proposals that would:

· Increase availability of home-grown, renewable fuels like ethanol, so that every American who wants to use alternative energy is able to do so;

· Provide tax credits for manufacturers who to retool their factories to build hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and flex fuel vehicles;

· Requires federal and state vehicle fleets to cut oil use by 30 percent by 2016 and ensure that 23 percent of their fleets are advanced diesels, hybrids or plug-in hybrids to ensure that government sets an example and spurs the market for energy innovation;

· Encourages the development and mass marketing of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and

· Lifts the per manufacturer cap on consumer tax credits for the purchase of hybrids and advanced diesels so more consumers receive tax incentives to purchase hybrids.

In addition to his leadership on this energy legislation, Senator Bayh has voted to support the renewable fuels standard several times in the Senate and co-sponsored a bipartisan amendment to provide a tax credits for gasoline stations that install or convert pumps that offer E-85 ethanol, which passed the Senate in May of 2005.

THE DRIVE ACT

(DEPENDENCE REDUCTION THROUGH INNOVATION IN VEHICLES AND ENERGY)

Action Plan: The DRIVE Act aims to reduce American use of oil by 7 million barrels a day by 2026. It achieves this goal through a variety of initiatives, including those outlined below.

New Vehicle Technology Requirement: Sets a target for manufacturers that 50% of their new vehicles be flexible fuel vehicles (FFV), alternative fueled vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell vehicles in 2012. After 2016 at least 10 percent of the 50 percent requirement must be met by hybrids, advanced diesels, plug-in hybrids and other non-FFV vehicles.

Leading by Example: Requires federal and state vehicle fleets to cut oil use by 30 percent by 2016. In 2016, the legislation also requires that 23 percent of the fleets be advanced diesels, hybrids or plug-in hybrids to further contribute to oil reduction. It also requires that government-owned flexible-fuel vehicles run on alternative fuels and that all new fleet vehicles be as fuel efficient as possible.

Fuel Efficient Vehicles for the 21st Century

Fuel Choices for the 21st Century National Media Campaign: Authorizes a national media campaign for the purpose of decreasing oil consumption in the United States.

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