Challenge President to Adopt Energy Measure with Double the Impact of Improved Auto Fuel Efficiency Standards at Fraction of the Cost

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Requiring auto manufacturers to build and sell "Flexible Fuel" cars, as would be required by Open Fuel Standard Act now under consideration in Congress, would have double the impact of the stricter fuel efficiency standards announced today by President Obama at a fraction of the cost. In response to the President's announcement, advocates of energy independence challenged the President to show his commitment to energy independence and security by putting his muscle behind passage of this bill.

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Flexible Fuel Cars can be built for an added cost of merely $100 a car ... Mandating that Detroit produce them could have double the impact of today’s announced auto fuel economy improvements, at a fraction of the cost.

The following is a statement on auto fuel standards issued today by Jack Halpern, President of Energy Alternatives for the 21st Century (EA-21):

EA-21 supports President Obama's decision to increase auto fuel efficiency 42% by 2016 as part of a plan for energy independence and security. But if the President means what he says about the need to move the U.S. off of oil, we challenge him to get serious by passing the one measure that should be the centerpiece of such an effort: the proposed Open Fuel Standard Bill. Passing that bill would require auto manufacturers to produce "Flexible Fuel" vehicles that can run on alternatives to gasoline, and would reduce gasoline consumption in new cars by as much as 85%, not just 42%. Better still, Flexible Fuel Cars can be built for an added cost of merely $100 a car, not the thousands that it will cost to improve auto efficiency. Mandating that Detroit produce them could have double the impact of today's announced auto fuel economy improvements, at a fraction of the cost.

We aren't suggesting that Flexible Fuel cars be put in place instead of improved fuel efficiency. Improved fuel efficiency will reduce the demand for oil, and thus provide more time for America to devise solutions for alternative ways to fuel our cars. But there is already one alternative available immediately for doing so. So anyone serious about ending our dependence on oil should be looking for ways to put that alternative in place right now.

The Open Fuel Standard measure has already been incorporated in the House Climate Bill. But no action has been taken on the measure (S 835) in the Senate. Although then-candidate Obama said that every car in America should be built that way, President Obama has been silent on the issue.

According to a report issued by EPA during President Obama's first year in office, such an Open Fuel Standard could put 177 million flexible fuel cars on the road in a decade, and would reduce consumption of foreign oil by nearly 25%. To put that impact in perspective this single simple measure -- the Open Fuel Standard -- would have 50 times the impact of the Administration's weatherization program and nearly double the impact of improved fuel efficiency standards.

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