Alternative Fuels Bill Signed

Legislation sponsored by Senator Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) that would encourage the use of energy efficient alternative fuels was signed into law today.

Special Session Senate Bill 22 will improve and expand the state's Alternative Fuels Incentive Fund, which is aimed at reducing both air pollution and providing the Commonwealth with the independence to manufacture its own fuel source.

Tomlinson said the law authorizes an additional 75 cents per gallon subsidy for biodiesel producers who produce more than 25,000 gallons per month, up to a total of $5.3 million annually. Individual producers could receive no more than $1.9 million. The law will also increase the reimbursement to producers of alternative fuels from 5 cents to 10 cents per gallon up to 12.5 million gallons annually.

"At a time when fuel costs are rising and we are looking for more energy efficient fuels, this law will create incentives to move away from gasoline and traditional diesel," Tomlinson said. "It will also stimulate economic development for those companies that manufacture to meet the demand for these alternative fuels."

Tomlinson said the law expands upon a program that he helped to create in 2004, by making improvements to promote even more energy independence and save millions in energy costs.

The law will require an education and outreach program to car dealers and consumers to educate them on the availability of the rebate. It also expands the rebates to plug in hybrids or other alternative fuel vehicles.

It also establishes a three-year matching grant program to install nitrogen tire inflation systems which have proven to save on fuel consumption.

"With rising gas prices and concern for the environment, consumers are demanding alternatives to oil," said Tomlinson. "These changes will make the fund even more effective in helping consumers to afford alternative fuel vehicles and other renewable energy efficient products."

Alternative fuels emit no particulate matter, less carbon monoxide and fewer pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone, or smog, than conventional gasoline and diesel fuel.

"Encouraging the use of these fuels will not only help to clean up our environment but also make us stronger economically to produce our own fuel," Tomlinson said. "I'm very pleased that the Governor and General Assembly worked together to pass this very important environmental initiative."

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