Americans, especially farmers, are feeling the pinch of high-energy costs. To help alleviate the problem and encourage economic prosperity.
Inventories of diesel fuel and gasoline are relatively high, but demand for both also has been growing steadily over the last two years. That's the underlying factor fueling a 44% increase in average gasoline prices since April 2004 and a 66% rise in diesel fuel.
This week Congress will begin debate on energy legislation. President Bush says the "first order of business is for Congress to pass an energy bill." In President Bush's weekly radio address he outlined four important objectives that need to be included in the bill.
- First, the energy bill must encourage the use of technology to improve conservation.
- Second, the energy bill must encourage more production at home in environmentally sensitive ways. Over the past three years, America's energy consumption has increased by about 4 percent, while our domestic energy production has decreased by about 1 percent.
- Third, the energy bill must diversify our energy supply by developing alternative sources of energy like ethanol or biodiesel. And to create more energy choices, Congress should provide tax credits for renewable power sources such as wind, solar, and landfill gas.
- Finally, the energy bill must help us find better, more reliable ways to deliver energy to consumers.
In the House last week, House members passed a new energy-oriented bill - the Fuels Security Act of 2005 - which was introduced by Stephanie Herseth, D-S.D., Tom Osbone, R-Neb., Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Steve King, R-Iowa. The legislation would establish a Renewable Fuels Standard at 8 billion gallons by 2012. The legislation is identical to a bill introduced in the Senate March 17.
The RFS at 8 billion gallons is higher than the 5 billion gallon level proposed in the last energy bill. Some have noted that the ethanol industry is already producing more than 4 billion gallons a year and they want the standard to reflect the higher production level.