Harkin, Lugar introduce FFV legislation

By Erin Voegele | September 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted Sept. 18, 2008 at 2:05 p.m. CST

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., introduced new legislation Sept. 12 aimed at expanding the availability of flexible-fuel vehicles (FFV) to American consumers. If passed, the Dual Fuel Automobile Act of 2008 would require half of all light-duty vehicles manufactured for sale in America to be FFV by 2011. By 2013, 90 percent of all light-duty vehicles sold in the United States would have to be FFV.

Currently, FFV account for less than 10 percent of new vehicle sales in the United States. According to a statement released by the lawmakers, the United States needs to sharply accelerate the availability of FFV to enable continued expansion of ethanol in the transportation fuels market. The legislation would rapidly expand the availability of FFV, but would not impose undue production cost challenges for auto manufacturers because gasoline vehicles require relatively minor changes in fuel system design in order to be designated an FFV. After its introduction, the bill was referred to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Harkin and Lugar have partnered on several other legislative efforts to increase access to renewable energy. In March 2007, the senators introduced the Ethanol Infrastructure and Expansion Act of 2007, directing the U.S. DOE to conduct a feasibility study on transporting ethanol by pipeline. The measure was included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that became law on Dec. 19, 2007. An expanded version of the measure was also included in the Food Conservation and Energy Act, which became law on May 22. Lugar and Harkin have also supported a robust renewable fuels standard (RFS), cosponsoring the Fuels Security Act of 2005 which called for at least 8 billion gallons of ethanol to be used annually by 2012.