March 20, 2006
Dear Clay County Republicans,
The issue of high energy costs impacts all Hoosiers. I have been working in the area of energy supply and demand for many years, in hopes of propelling Indiana and America towards greater energy independence.
Not only is energy demand rising, it is also getting more expensive. The cost of imported oil now accounts for approximately one third of our trade deficit. Transportation fuel (gasoline and diesel) is the single largest driver of American oil dependence, accounting for approximately 64 percent of our total consumption of oil or 13.1 million barrels/day in 2004.
However, now we have the opportunity to change this course. Without eliminating oil imports or abandoning our cars, we can offset a significant portion of demand for oil by giving American consumers a real choice of automotive fuel. Fortunately, Indiana has the assets that can help meet this challenge.
The key is renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. These home-grown fuels can be made from grains and biomass like straw, corn stalks, wood, municipal and agricultural wastes, as well as fats and oils.
I worked to include incentives in the 2005 energy bill to not only expand current renewable fuel production to 7.5 billion gallons in the near future, but also to provide incentives to build commercial scale biomass refineries. I support measures to encourage the production and purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles and efforts to provide tax credits to fueling stations that install and/or convert pumps that offer E-85 ethanol and biodiesel blends. I recently introduced legislation to promote ad-vances in fuel technology and provide consumers with the ability to choose alternative fuels.
By spurring the production and use of ethanol and biodiesel, we are not only offering a lower-cost fuel option to consumers, we are helping to overcome one of our greatest national security vulnerabilities.
Richard D. Lugar
United States Senator