Responding to OCS Drilling Decision, Advocacy Group Challenges President to "Get Serious" About Energy Independence and Security

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Energy Alternatives for the 21st Century challenges President Obama to devise an energy independence plan that goes beyond OCS drilling and that includes the "Open Fuel Standard" measure that then-candidate Obama supported during the presidential campaign.

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The only quick, sure and reliable way to reduce our gasoline consumption in the meantime is by finding alternative liquid fuels on which our cars can run. That is what the Open Fuel Standard can do for less than $100 per car.

Responding to President Obama's Decision to Open the East Coast Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to drilling, the following is a statement issued today by Jack Halpern, President of Energy Alternatives for the 21st Century (EA-21):

EA-21 supports President Obama's decision to open the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off the Coast of Virginia as part of a comprehensive plan for energy security and independence. But if the President means what he says about the need for such a comprehensive approach, we challenge him to get serious about putting such a plan in place by passing the one measure that should be its centerpiece: the proposed Open Fuel Standard Bill. Passing that bill would give consumers an alternative to burning gasoline in their cars by requiring Detroit to build "flexible fuel" cars that could run on a variety fuels. 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.

It is important to stress that the plans that the Administration has laid out so far for reducing global warming are not a substitute for the comprehensive plan for energy independence and security that the President has implicitly promised to provide by issuing his decision today. Two or three decades from now, when many of us may be driving electric cars or plug-in hybrids, technologies intended to reduce climate change such as solar, wind and nuclear power will not only reduce our dependence on the coal that America uses to produce electrical power, but give us a way to power our cars without gasoline. But until that distant date most of us will still be driving cars that run on liquid fuels rather than electricity. So, the only quick, sure and reliable way to reduce our gasoline consumption in the meantime is by finding alternative liquid fuels on which our cars can run. That is what the Open Fuel Standard can do for less than $100 per car.

It is important to emphasize as well that, while opening up the Outer Continental Shelf to drilling provides an alternative to foreign oil the Open Fuel Standard does the same and more by offering consumers an alternative to oil altogether. Today oil is controlled by an international cartel and has no competitors. By providing the first meaningful competition, the Open Fuel Standard would benefit all consumers and help the U.S. economy.

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