January 19, 2005- Rep. Markey Announces Legislation Creating Fuels for the Future

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following Democrats’ innovation summit, Representative Edward J. Markey, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today sent a letter to his colleagues in the House of Representatives outlining legislation he will introduce when the Congress reconvenes mandating that within five years, all cars, trucks and SUV’s sold in the United States be flex-fuel vehicles, capable of running on gasoline, ethanol, or a combination of both. With energy and gasoline prices skyrocketing and U.S. dependence on foreign sources of oil projected to continue climbing to over 60 percent by 2025, achieving energy independence is at the top of the Democratic agenda. Currently, about 40 percent of the roughly 20 million barrels of oil that the U.S. consumes every day goes into the gas tanks of passenger vehicles.

“The ethanol that the U.S. currently produces – 3.4 billion gallons in 2004 – is made from corn. However, there is great potential in cellulosic ethanol, ethanol that can be produced from a wide variety of biomass such as sawgrass, tree bark, or wastes such as sawdust, paper pulp or sugar cane waste,” said Rep. Markey. “This type of ethanol holds incredible potential – but we have to develop it. The United States must make a real national commitment to develop these promising new technologies in order to create a secure energy future.”

Right now, there are nearly five million vehicles already on the road in the U.S. that are capable of running on E85, a fuel mix that is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Flex-fuel vehicles are not significantly more expensive to produce – right now vehicles that have flex-fuel models retail for the same prices as their gas-only counterparts.

Brazil, the world’s leading producer of ethanol, has cut its dependence on foreign oil from about 80 percent to nearly zero -- despite being the tenth largest energy consumer in the world. About half of Brazil’s cars are flex-fuel vehicles capable of running on ethanol.

For Immediate Release
January 19, 2006

 CONTACT: Tara McGuinness
Morgan Gray

202.225.2836