Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) today introduced S.331, the Alternative Energy Refueling Systems Act. The bill would provide for increased energy security for Americans by providing 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 E-85, compressed natural gas, or bio-diesel, in an effort to reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil.

This bipartisan legislation would provide gas station owners with grants 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.

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 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 home-grown alternative fuels that are better for the environment and our nation's security.

"America remains too dependent on oil from unstable and often unfriendly foreign sources. As gas prices remain high, our nation needs to shift its focus to alternative sources of energy to meet our energy needs," said Thune. "This bill I've introduced with Senator Salazar would greatly increase the availability of alternative fuels, such as E-85, compressed natural gas, and bio-diesel at gas stations across the country, 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 take advantage of these grants and begin installing additional alternative fuel tanks to give consumers more 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 Alternative Energy Refueling Systems Act include:
  • Grant funding would come from the penalties that are primarily paid by foreign automakers who violate Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAF?) standards -- last year's fines generated more than $20 million. Subject to appropriation by Congress, these penalties would be available 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.

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

  • Allows gas station owners to receive reimbursement for up to three tanks per facility.

This legislation enjoys the support of several business, agriculture, and alternative energy groups, including: General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Daimler Chrysler, Wal-Mart, Petroleum Marketers Association of America, National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, National Association of Fleet Administrators, Renewable Fuels Association, National Bio-Diesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, and the American Coalition for Ethanol, and the National Association of Truckstop Operators.

Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) are cosponsors of the legislation.