Sen. Lugar hosts summit, outlines expanded energy plan

By | October 13, 2006
A sweeping energy plan was announced by Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., at the Richard G. Lugar-Purdue University Summit on Energy Security on Aug. 29. Lugar proposed dramatic and immediate action to increase energy security in his keynote address. "The plan I am proposing today would achieve the replacement of 6.5 million barrels of oil per day by volume-the rough equivalent of one-third of the oil used in America and one-half of our current oil imports," he said. He introduced the legislation Sept. 29.

Most of the senator's plan focuses on ethanol and includes action plans such as expanding ethanol production to 100 billion gallons per year by 2025, requiring all gasoline to contain 10 percent ethanol and expanding E85 access to filling stations by ensuring that at least one-fourth of filling stations have E85 pumps.

Lugar did include biodiesel as another alternative in his plan. "[Congress] should continue to encourage research, development and deployment of hybrids, plug-in technology, ultra-light auto materials, biodiesel and coal-based transportation fuels, among other promising technologies," he declared to a crowd of 1,000 attendees, which included leaders from government, business, academia and various energy-related fields.

Other aspects of the plan focused on stricter vehicle mileage standards. He pointed to the Fuel Economy Reform Act, which seeks a 4 percent annual increase in fuel economy, as an example. Lugar cosponsored the bill with Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

Lugar admitted that the goals he set forward were ambitious and would take "political breakthroughs and intensive government oversight." However, he said that America could end its oil addiction through technology, and targeted government incentives and regulations. He noted that federal mandates should follow if incentives don't receive sufficient response.

Lugar said he has proposed or cosponsored legislation on every idea that he discussed in his speech. "While we are asking for greater statesmanship from our automobile and oil companies, we must demand the same from our federal legislators and administrators," he said.
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