Carper, Democrats Offer Plan to Make America Energy Independent

Bill Would Invest Heavily in Renewable Energy, Clean Technologies

WASHINGTON (May 17, 2006) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., today joined other senior Democrats, including Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to introduce comprehensive legislation aimed at making America energy independent by 2020. The Clean EDGE Act of 2006 calls for a major investment in the research, development, and production of new energy-efficient vehicles, renewable fuels and clean-energy technologies. Using tax incentives and the government’s massive purchasing power, the bill would increase the production of alt-fuel cars and trucks, like hybrids and flex-fuel vehicles, while leveling the playing field for renewable fuels, like biodiesel and new ethanol technologies. “America’s current energy policy is out of step with today’s energy needs. The reason energy prices are high today is because we haven’t taken the steps necessary to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and make our country more energy independent,” said Carper. “This legislation provides a long-term vision for our country’s future, one that involves a larger commitment to renewable fuels, clean-burning cars, and new sources of energy. If we follow this roadmap, twenty years from now, we’ll be celebrating our energy independence, not falling victim to higher energy prices.” Carper continued, “This legislation is good news for business, whether you’re a soybean farmer downstate, an auto-worker in northern Delaware or a researcher at a Delaware company or university. The bill would expand the market for numerous energy-efficient technologies and products developed right here in the First State.” Specifically, the bill calls on the president to meet a national goal of reducing oil imports by 40 percent by 2020. Among the many provisions in the bill: ALT-FUEL VEHICLES Flex-Fuel Vehicles: The legislation accelerates the conversion of American vehicles to flexible-fuel technology. The legislation mandates that 25 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2010 be flex-fuel capable, rising to 50 percent by 2020. Flexible fuel vehicles can run on higher blends of bio-fuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol, which help displace petroleum and provide competition at the gas pump. Hybrids and Advanced Vehicle Technology: The legislation would double and extend by five years tax credits for those who purchase qualified hybrid, advanced lean-burn technology, and fuel-cell vehicles. Plug-In Hybrid Development: The legislation authorizes the Energy Department to research, develop and study the commercial application of electric-drive transportation technology, including “plug-in” hybrids, which would run on electric power for short distances but would switch to gasoline for longer drives. BIO-FUELS DEVELOPMENT Biodiesel: The legislation extends the biodiesel production tax credit through 2014 and requires the federal government to start using newly blended biodiesel fuels immediately. Within 5 years, 20 percent of the federal government’s diesel vehicles would have to burn biodiesel, increasing to 80 percent within 10 years. Increase production of biofuel refueling stations. A major barrier to using flex-fuel and alt-fuel vehicles is the lack of refueling stations that provide biofuels. The Clean EDGE Act sets a national goal of installing alternative fuels at 10 percent of American gas stations by 2015. CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENTS Renewable Electricity Standard: The bill would require that 10 percent of electricity consumed by the federal government come from renewable resources by 2013. Tax credits for energy-efficient homes. The bill would reauthorize tax credits for energy-efficient buildings, homes, etc. Incentives for new clean coal technologies. The bill would provide state and local governments with $1 billion in bonding authority to help build advanced coal projects, like coal-gasification power plants. PROTECTING AMERICAN CONSUMERS Makes gas-gouging a federal crime and strengthens anti-trust enforcement in the oil and gas industry. The legislation makes gas price-gouging a federal crime, enhances federal authority to prevent and prosecute manipulation of fuel supplies and anti-competitive behavior, and increases the transparency of petroleum markets.