Hoeven, Blunt, Klobuchar, Crapo Introduce the Bipartisan Domestic Fuels Act of 2012

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) today introduced bipartisan legislation, the Domestic Fuels Act of 2012. The measure provides a market-based, no-cost approach to produce more energy, increase competition, foster greater sales of alternative fuels, provide more consumer choice and lower the cost of motor fuels at the pump.

Currently, legal and infrastructure obstacles, such as cost of entry for retailers, inconsistent standards, and other regulatory factors limit the amount of renewable fuels that can be sold through existing motor fuel retail outlets. The Domestic Fuels Act takes a market-based approach, driven by supply and demand, that makes it easier to market all fuels and give consumers more choice at the pump. It achieves this by:

  • Streamlining the process so that all fuels, both traditional and renewable, can be stored and dispensed with common equipment. The bill requires the EPA to develop streamlined criteria so that underground tanks can be used to dispense gasoline, diesel, ethanol or some combination of fuels, rather than requiring the use of separate tanks.
  • Providing liability protection for retailers that meet the streamlined EPA standards, so that they can sell multiple types of fuel with less red tape, providing consumers with more choice and lower fuel prices.
  • Establishing a new pathway for retailers to ensure that their equipment is safe and legally recognized as compatible to sell new fuels, thereby reducing the cost of entry for many retailers.

“We need to make all fuels available to American consumers and businesses, and we need to do so by using tested market-based measures that increase competition and remove bureaucratic obstacles to producing and marketing both domestic and traditional fuels,” Hoeven said. “This is really about giving customers more choice and better prices at the pump by empowering retailers to market multiple fuels using the same equipment. That’s good for the customer, good for business and good for the nation.”

“I’m pleased to work on this bipartisan bill with my colleagues in order to cut red tape and remove legal barriers standing in the way of new fuels as we work towards greater energy independence,” said Blunt. “This bill provides a new pathway for job creators to use existing equipment in order to safely store and dispense newer fuels while reducing costs for retailers. As Americans suffer from skyrocketing gas prices, making use of alternatives, in addition to all available domestic fuels, will allow us to provide more consumer choice, lower prices at the pump, and reduce our dependence on unstable foreign sources of energy.”

“This would cut through red tape and help provide the clear standards needed to increase competition and bring homegrown energy to consumers,” said Klobuchar. “Now is the time to increase domestic production of energy, focus on the homegrown energy solutions that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and give consumers choice at the pump.”

“This legislation ensures that safeguards remain in place for consumers while eliminating unnecessary regulations that could drive up costs at the pump,” Crapo said. “The process will allow retailers to sell new fuels without incurring unreasonable costs or liability, while granting consumers confidence when choosing higher ethanol blends.”

The measure is supported by a range of industries and associations, including the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, American Petroleum Institute, Tesoro Corp., ExxonMobil, Association of Convenience Stores, Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, Petroleum Marketers Association of America, National Association of Truck Stop Operators American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.

“This legislation is the culmination of an unprecedented and multi-year collaboration among all parties in the transportation fuels universe – marketers and retailers, auto engine manufacturers, non-road engine manufacturers, renewable fuel advocates and manufacturers of transportation fuels,” said Gregory Goff, President and CEO of Tesoro Corp., leading oil refining company.

“This bill is a thoughtful approach that will help speed this country’s transition to E15, higher ethanol blends, and other advanced biofuels,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “The bill would avoid unnecessary infrastructure investments by providing gasoline marketers with a commonsense certification pathway for existing equipment that assures safety while accelerating consumer access to these new fuels. The Domestic Fuels Act could help deliver price relief at the gas pump for consumers while increasingly liberating this country from its unhealthy, unsafe dependence upon foreign oil.”