U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack reintroduced legislation in Washington on March 2, 2016 that would expand the availability of renewable fuels and electric vehicle charging stations at U.S. gas stations. The Re-FUEL Act would be administered under the United States Department of Agriculture. (Wikimedia Commons)
U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack reintroduced legislation in Washington on March 2, 2016 that would expand the availability of renewable fuels and electric vehicle charging stations at U.S. gas stations. The Re-FUEL Act would be administered under the United States Department of Agriculture. (Wikimedia Commons)

New fuel options at the pump? Loebsack says yes

The Iowa City Democrat reintroduced legislation this week that would help expand electric-vehicle charging stations and biofuels at traditional U.S. gas stations.  

By Quentin Misiag | quentin-misiag@uiowa.edu

U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack this week reintroduced federal legislation aimed at implementing biofuels and electric-vehicle charging stations into traditional gasoline stations across the country.

Loebsack

Loebsack

The five-term Iowa City Democrat on Wednesday rolled out his proposal for The Renewable Fuel Utilization, Expansion, and Leadership (Re-FUEL) Act.

“I believe in making things in America, and there is no reason our fuel sources shouldn’t be made here as well,” Loebsack, 63, told Capitol Hill leaders Wednesday. “It’s also important that consumers are able to choose where their fuel source comes from when they go to fill up. Too often, infrastructure constraints are cited as the reason for not giving consumers the choices they deserve.”

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Gas and convenience stations in Iowa and across the country such as Casey’s General Stores, Kum & Go, and 7-Eleven would see the addition of pumps for biofuels and hydrogen, tanks, piping and electric vehicles chargers for vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S.

If approved, the program would be funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is currently headed up by former Iowa Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack

The act would assist fuel retailers, such as convenience stores, with the investments. A grant program spearheaded by the USDA and task forces focused on educating the nation’s rural communities about renewable-fuel options would also be administered.

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Grant participants would be eligible to receive up to $100,000 in funding.

Loebsack — a longtime supporter of renewable fuels including wind energy as a way to grow the state’s economic base — said the program would not add to the national deficit, which is approximately $18 trillion.

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Since being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, Loebsack has touted the need for the country to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and support Iowa-grown fuel sources, including ethanol and wind power.

But he, along with Iowa’s three other congressmen, voted on Jan. 9, 2015, in favor of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The stalled project would have brought crude oil from Canada to the United States. Loebsack is currently seeking a sixth-term in Congress against state Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa.

 

Follow Quentin Misiag on Twitter @quentin_misiag for analysis on Iowa politics, including the state’s congressional influence in Washington. 

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