Alexander Says Key to Lowering Gas Prices is to “Find More, Use Less”

Says Cellulosic Ethanol Could Help Tennesseans Gain Clean Energy Independence

Posted on July 18, 2008

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today at an energy roundtable in Jackson that the key to solving the current energy shortage and high gas prices problem can be summed up in four words: “find more, use less.” “The actions we take today can lower gas prices today,” said Alexander. “The reason that’s true is that today’s price depends so much upon what the expected supply of and demand for oil will be three to five years from now. As soon as the United States shows that it is committed to producing more and using less oil the price of gasoline will begin to stabilize and go down. “More American energy now would help lower the price of gasoline. States should be able to explore for more oil offshore, just as four states already do along the Gulf Coast. We should make our contribution to finding more American energy by producing more oil, but we also need to use less by supporting emerging technologies, like cellulosic ethanol and plug-in electric cars so we can gain American clean energy independence.” According to Alexander, the recently passed Farm Bill could help Tennesseans because it “reduces the tax credit for corn ethanol and gives a more generous tax credit to produce cellulosic ethanol made from ingredients like switchgrass that could grow easily all across our state. It shifts the focus from crops that we eat to crops that we don't eat.” Last month, Alexander joined in introducing the Gas Price Reduction Act (S. 3202), which includes provisions to encourage the development of plug-in vehicles. Specifically, the bill would: • “Find More” – increasing American production by one-third through offshore exploration and western states oil shale (3 million new barrels a day). • “Use Less” – reducing imported oil by one-third by making it easier for millions of Americans to drive plug-in electric cars and trucks (4 million barrels of oil savings a day). The bill also encourages the government to increase its purchases of electric vehicles. At the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in May, Alexander proposed a “new Manhattan Project: a five-year project to put America firmly on the path to clean energy independence.” Alexander proposed seven grand challenges to scientists, including making advanced biofuels cost-competitive with gasoline – an innovation Alexander said would greatly benefit Tennessee farmers. “Instead of ending a war, the goal of the new Manhattan Project will be clean energy independence – so that we can deal with skyrocketing gasoline prices, soaring electricity prices, clean air, climate change, and national security – for our country first, and because other countries have the same urgent needs and therefore will adopt our ideas – for the rest of the world,” Alexander concluded. “We should begin by exploring for more of the oil and natural gas that the United States already has. But to lower gasoline prices and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we must also look for more ways to reduce our use of oil.” Senator Alexander’s entire Oak Ridge address proposing a new Manhattan Project may be found on his website here.