Ethanol Coalition Applauds Passage of Energy Bill

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), commended the U.S. Senate for passing a trimmed energy bill that calls for higher fuel economies for vehicles and an increase in the use of biofuels to 36 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2022.

"This may be the most profoundly important step in support of energy security ever taken by the U.S., an unmistakable shift toward renewable fuels and energy conservation and away from our dangerous and expensive reliance on fossil fuels," Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE, said in a statement. "I commend the United States Senate for passing its energy bill with a new, robust Renewable Fuels Standard that is a meaningful, immediate step toward energy security and economic stability for America."

The bill was passed by a vote of 86 to eight, and calls for new standards for the first time in more than 30 years. The new standards will be 35 miles per gallon for cars, small trucks and SUVs over the next 13 years, an increase of 10 miles per gallon over the current averages, The Associated Press reported. The bill also calls for mandates for growth in biofuel use through a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), by 15 billion gallons of ethanol annually by 2015, and 36 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2022.

"The House's passage and the president's signing of this bill will signal the beginning of the end of our nation's addiction to oil," added Jennings. "We urge the House to take swift action on this energy bill and urge the President to sign it into law so that U.S. consumers can begin benefiting from increased access to clean-burning, renewable fuels like ethanol."

The measure was approved after Democrats abandoned a section of the bill that would have created billions of dollars in new taxes on oil companies, the AP reported.

The bill now will travel to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to receive a vote this week. Meanwhile, the White House said President Bush will sign the legislation if it reaches his desk, the AP reported.

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