GAO Report Says DOE not Ready for Biofuels

Agency looks at current system and finds lack of strategic planning to meet a fast-growing new market segment.

The Government Accountability Office took a good look at the U.S. transportation sector and the future of biofuels and didn't like what it saw. In a new report released today, GAO says the U.S. Department of Energy lacks a strategic approach for this fledgling industry.

GAO found that the existing biofuels distribution infrastructure has limited capacity to transport the fuels and deliver them to consumers. Biofuels move mostly by rail and GAO found that prime method of transportation may not be able to meet growing demand.

In addition, the agency found that DOE didn't have a solid plan for developing programs to get biofuel-using vehicles into the market. Noting that less than 1% of fueling stations in the United States offer E85, GAO says the energy department could push several policies "such as mandating [E85 pump] installation."

The report shows that the number of flexible fuel vehicles on the market is going to continue growing and that the DOE "has not yet developed a comprehensive approach to coordinate its strategy for expanding biofuels production with the development of biofuel infrastructure and production of vehicles.

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