Congress Takes Cash for Clunkers from Loan Program

Cindy Zimmerman

“Cash for Clunkers” has another $2 billion to get less fuel-efficient vehicles off the road – but the renewable energy loan guarantee program has $2 billion less for research into alternative fuels.

RFARenewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen says Congress should replace those borrowed funds as soon as possible. “While the cash for clunkers idea has merit, it contains no language or direction to steer consumers to alternative-fuel vehicles,” said Dinneen. “As such, a failure to replenish this fund when Congress returns this fall would be robbing Peter to pay Paul. We need not choose between clean fuels and clean vehicles, we need both.”

Dinneen says the loan guarantee program being tapped to provide the cash for the clunkers is critical to bringing next generation biofuels and other renewable energies to the marketplace. “Companies seeking to turn sugar waste and other cellulosic materials into biofuel, for example, were looking to this program as the security they need to take the risks that will accelerate the commercialization of their technologies. Now, those companies are forced to anxiously wait and see if Congress will replace those funds,” he added.

The Senate last week voted 60 to 37 to approve $2 billion in additional funding after approval by the House the week before.

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