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Thune Introduces Energy Security Amendment to Greatly Increase Availability of Alternative Fuels for American Consumers

Amendment Incentivizes Installation of Alternative Fuel Tanks Across the Country

July 12, 2006

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune (R-SD) today offered an amendment (#4610) to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act that would provide for increased energy security for Americans. The amendment would provide incentives for gas station owners across the country to install alternative fuel tanks, giving consumers greater opportunities to opt for cleaner, more environment-friendly fuels such as those containing ethanol, compressed natural gas, or bio-diesel, in an effort to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil.

Thune's amendment would provide gas station owners with a reimbursement for 30 percent of the costs (not to exceed $30,000) for the replacement of a petroleum tank or the addition of an alternative fuel tank. It would allow station owners to receive reimbursement for up to two tanks per facility, unlike the existing tax credit that is currently available only once per station.

As automakers continue to manufacture an increasing number of Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs), there is a significant need for more refueling sites across the country. Currently, of the 180,000 gas stations across the country, less than 1 percent of those stations (800), offer alternative fuels such as E-85. Encouraging gas station owners to install alternative refueling systems will give more American consumers the ability to refuel their vehicles with alternative fuels that are better for the environment and our nation's security.

"As the vulnerability of our overdependence on foreign oil becomes a top concern for American consumers who are paying high gasoline prices, our nation needs to shift its focus to alternative sources of energy to meet our energy needs," said Thune. "The amendment I've offered today would greatly increase the availability of alternative fuels, such as E-85, compressed natural gas, and bio-diesel, allowing more American consumers to fill up using cleaner, more cost-effective fuels that are better for the environment and made here in America.

"I'm confident that as the demand for alternative fuels continues to grow, gas station owners across the country will be quick to take advantage of the reimbursement this amendment provides and begin installing additional alternative fuel tanks to give consumers greater options that lessen our dependence on foreign oil. This will also greatly benefit farmers in rural states like South Dakota by creating American jobs in the growing alternative fuels industry."

Provisions of Senator Thune's energy security amendment include:

  • Utilizes penalties that are primarily paid by foreign automakers who violate CAFE standards (last year's fines generated more than $20 million) to reimburse gas station owners who replace and/or add new alternative fuel storage tanks, such as E-85, Compressed Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Liquefied Natural Gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, and Hydrogen, or other alternative fuels as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency;

  • Provides gas station owners with a reimbursement for 30 percent of the costs (not to exceed $30,000) of replacing a petroleum tank with or adding an alternative fuel tank;

  • Allows gas station owners to receive reimbursement for up to two tanks per facility, unlike the tax credit that is currently only available once per gas station owner;

  • Reduces dependency on foreign sources of oil by placing the necessary infrastructure around the country to allow consumers to purchase alternative-fueled vehicles;

  • Reduces the overall number of petroleum tanks, which can cause leaks of contaminants that impact public health and drinking water sources;

  • Increases the availability of ethanol (E-85) and other alternative fuels; and
  • In no way reduces existing environmental safeguards and legal obligations of gas station owners.