Washington, DC--At an Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) stressed the importance of his proposed legislation, the Open Fuel Standard.  This bill would require 50 percent of new automobiles in 2014, 80 percent in 2016, and 95 percent in 2017, to operate on non-petroleum fuels in addition to or instead of petroleum based fuels. Rep. Engel, is a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The legislation (H.R. 1687) is co-sponsored by Rep. Shimkus (R-Ill.).

(To view his comments at the hearing, including a spirited back and forth with the representative from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers -

Rep. Engel said, “I was very pleased to see this important issue be given attention by the committee.  I have pushed very hard to move our nation away from reliance upon fossil fuels, and I am thankful to Rep. Shimkus and Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield for holding the hearing upon my request.  Our economy and our national security are threatened by our dependence on foreign oil. An Open Fuel Standard will help us to end our addiction to oil.  Our transportation sector is by far the biggest reason we send $400 billion per year to hostile nations – from Iran to Venezuela, and others – to pay for oil.  Alternative technologies exist, and if implemented broadly will allow any alternative fuel to be used by American drivers.  This will encourage the development of domestic energy resources, and the industry and jobs that will come along with these alternative sources.

Among those testifying at the hearing:

  • Jack Gerard, President and CEO, American Petroleum Institute
  • Robert Dinneen, President and CEO, Renewable Fuels Association
  • Michael Breen, Vice President, Truman National Security Project
  • Gregory Dolan, Executive Director Americas/Europe, Methanol Institute
  • Shane Karr, Vice President, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
  • Thomas Hassenboehler, Vice President, America’s Natural Gas Alliance
  • MaryAnn Wright, Vice President, Electric Drive Transportation Association

The witnesses engaged on the national security aspects of our dependence on foreign oil.  Global demand is projected to grow by 10 million barrels per day by 2015, with most of that coming from China and India.  The result could be oil prices that spike well above the $147 per barrel we experienced in 2008, and the results could be devastating to the United States.  The Open Fuel Standard Act would provide fuel choices at the pump and lessen the impact of OPEC’s manipulation. 

“America does not need to be beholden to foreign nations for transportation fuel.  The Open Fuel Standard Act is a win-win situation – bolster our own economy and domestic employment opportunities while ceasing to funnel billions of dollars needlessly to other countries,” added Rep. Engel. 

The Open Fuel Standard is supported by the United States Energy Security Council (, a group of 28 distinguished Americans from all parts of the political spectrum.  It includes a former Secretary of State, two former Secretaries of Defense, a former Secretary of Homeland Security, a former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a former Secretary of Transportation, a former Director of the CIA, two former Secretaries of the Navy, a former Secretary of the Air Force, three former national security advisers, a Nobel Laureate, and several Fortune-50 chief executives.