An open fuels standard, introduced in the House by Representative John Shimkus, R-Ill., is gaining support. However according to Anne Korin, co-founder of the Set America Free Coalition, which advocates for fuel choice, if the bill is to go anywhere it will need more co-sponsors, so folks should let their representatives know this is a top priority. Three other co-sponsors are Eliot Engel, D-N.Y, Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., and Steve Israel, D-N.Y.
According to Shimkus, if the bill becomes law, consumers could drive up to the pump in a standardized vehicle and choose, be it biofuels, methanol, coal-to-liquid fuel or gasoline, depending on the best price. Other supporters include Representatives Howard Berman, D-Calif., David Loebsack, D-Iowa, and Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
The Open Fuel Standard would require manufacturers to produce 50% qualified vehicles beginning in model year 2014, 80% by 2016 and 95% by 2017. Qualified vehicles would include flex-fuel vehicles warranted to operate on gasoline, E85 or an 85% blend of methanol, which can be made from natural gas or coal. Also included would be vehicles that can operate on natural gas, hydrogen, biodiesel, fuel cell or other technology.
Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association likes the concept of the Open Fuel Standard legislation. According to Dinneen it will empower consumers to make the choice that is best for them. He added that it's not right to "demonize" domestic energy supplies, such as natural gas and coal.
Growth Energy also supports the bill. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says that if we are truly going to meet our nation's renewable fuel goals and substantially reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we need to invest in policies like these that will bring our entire vehicle fleet up to modern engine standards, and open the market to more ethanol.