Senator Thune was joined at the event by lead cosponsors, Senators Jim Talent (R-MO) and Ken Salazar (D-CO), and sponsors of the House companion bill, Representatives Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). Also participating were representatives from the Renewable Fuels Association, the National Corn Growers Association, and representatives from DaimlerChrysler, Ford, and General Motors, who had Flexible Fuel and bio-diesel vehicles onsite.
Senator Thune delivered the following remarks:
"Today we're here to talk about bipartisan legislation that seeks to make America more energy-independent.
We have a choice: We can continue to fuel our cars with foreign oil from places like Venezuela and the Middle East, where tension and instability loom. Or we can join thousands of Americans who are turning to Flex-Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) powered by home-grown alternative fuels like E-85 and bio-diesel.
This shift to alternative fuels is gaining momentum across the country.
U.S. automakers like Ford, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors are committed to producing high-quality, reliable vehicles that run on alternative fuels.
And consumer demand for alternatives is growing at record speed.
There's only one problem: accessibility.
Consider this: There are currently more than 5 million flex fuel vehicles on the roads in the U.S. today that can run on E-85 ethanol or gasoline. Yet, there are just over 600 gas stations nationwide that provide E-85 ethanol to consumers.
That's where the bill we're highlighting today comes into play.
This bipartisan legislation would provide a partial reimbursement (up to $30,000) for gas station owners and other eligible entities who install alternative refueling systems - such as E-85, bio-diesel or other alternative fuels.
It's critical that we give gas station owners an incentive to boost the availability of alternative fuels so American consumers have the opportunity to opt for cleaner, more environment-friendly fuels that reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil.
We cannot continue to look to other countries to meet our energy needs. With continued funding, research and exploration, America has the resources and wherewithal to meet its own energy needs. We need to be vigilant in taking steps to increase domestic production and access to alternative fuels.
The alternative is for America to remain addicted to foreign oil and pay higher and higher prices at the pump."
Click here for a PDF fact sheet on Senator Thune's legislation.