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potential for producing sustainable feedstock and fuels) will be of utmost importance.


Infrastructure Development

Ethanol use can increase to 10 percent of gasoline, possibly more, with minimal changes to current car fleet or infrastructure; biodiesel blends can be higher. To go beyond this, however, governments need to address the ‘chicken or the egg’ dilemma: vehicles are needed that can run on high-blends of biofuels, but consumers will not buy them without a distribution system that assures access to these fuels; such a distribution system is not likely to develop without the vehicles to demand/use it. This dilemma can be resolved with technologies like flex-fuel vehicles (see below).

To enable the expansion of biofuels, infrastructure changes will also be required on the production side (especially for next-generation biofuel production). New crops and production methods, as well as associated distribution requirements, will necessitate substantial infrastructure planning and development. The existing infrastructure available for the use of agricultural and forestry resources should be evaluated to determine what expansion and refinements are required for renewable biomass resources to play an expanding role in providing sustainable transportation fuel supplies.

To encourage the necessary infrastructure transition, governments could:

  • Advance Flexible-Fuel Vehicle Technology. Governments could advance the development and availability of flex-fuel vehicles, including those appropriate for high-blends, through legislative mandates or softer incentives (like targets—for example, governments could call for 100 percent of new cars available in the domestic marketplace to be biofuel-compatible within 10 years). In promoting FFV’s, governments should not allow trade-offs in fuel economy or air quality standards.

  • Promote Use of Flex-Fuel Vehicles. In addition or instead, governments could establish incentives for consumers who buy such vehicles and use them with biofuels. Governments should also commit to transitioning to flex-fuel vehicles for non-diesel, non-strategic fleets.

  • Require Fuel Companies to Provide Biofuels. Because of the control the fossil fuel companies hold over fuel distribution and sale in most countries, most governments may have to require that these companies distribute and sell biofuels. Governments could, for example, require that all fueling stations over a certain size convert at least one pump to biofuels (this would have to be phased in as fuel becomes available). This may not be appropriate in countries where blending mandates exist, and such a requirement could destroy market niches for smaller distributors.

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