Propel CEO gives Congress comments on access to renewable fuels

By Propel Fuels | April 12, 2011

Matt Horton, CEO of Propel Fuels, provided comments to Congress April 7 on the importance of providing convenient consumer access to increase the use of renewable fuels, as well as on steps legislators can take to ensure the needed infrastructure can be rapidly and efficiently built nationwide. As a leading retailer of E85 Flex Fuel and biodiesel on the West Coast, Propel submitted comments to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to provide key customer perspectives on the U.S. DOE’s biofuel programs and biofuel infrastructure issues, and on S. 187, the Biofuels Expansion Act of 2011.

In his comments to the committee, Horton provided insight on the status of current and future renewable fuels infrastructure in our nation, as well as the vehicles that run on these fuels.

"With the primary location of the existing E85 and biodiesel fueling sites in the upper Midwest, much of the balance of the nation remains without such fueling facilities while Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford continue to produce almost 50 percent of their entire production as Flexible Fuel Vehicles," Horton said.

Horton also explained Propel's belief that the federal government must participate in establishing the alternative fuel infrastructure of the future.

"According to the DOE Alternative Fuel Data Center, there are approximately 2,350 public E85 fueling stations across the entire nation. This small number of sites serves an E85 vehicle population exceeding 9 million vehicles," said Horton. "While it is not the government's role to choose the fuel of the future, government can and should assist the private sector with offsetting the costs of such new infrastructure. We believe that the establishment of an infrastructure income tax credit represents the most appropriate role of government in this effort."

Horton provided further details on Propel's recommendation to establish a federal infrastructure income tax credit including:

  • A tax credit of up to 50 percent of the total project costs, limited to $100,000 per site.
  • Ability to utilize the credit for the complete value of the improvements that are associated with the establishment of the fuel equipment.
  • The ability of the retail operator who is incurring the equipment costs to transfer the value of the credit to a third party.
  • The tax credit should be allowed to be in place for no less than seven calendar years.
  • All equipment supported by the credit must be in continual service for no less than 5 years, or be subject to recapture.
  • The alternative fuel income tax credit would only be applicable to support the dispensing of those alternative fuels as defined by the Secretary of the DOE.
  • Recognizing the need to be considerate of the federal budget issues, it is also possible to limit the annual financial impact of a new infrastructure tax credit. 

Propel currently has 22 fueling sites in operation in Washington and California and has a 75-station project under development to further increase access in California. Working with the U.S. DOE, Propel is the largest single recipient of federal ARRA funds being used to establish E85 fueling locations. In addition, the company has received grant funds from the California Energy Commission. Propel has matched these funds with an additional $20 million in private venture capital based on the opportunity provided by alternative fuels. 


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