WASHINGTON (B)--A draft report prepared for Congress by the Bush administration recommends continuing federal incentives for ethanol-fueled vehicles, despite the program's apparent failure to either reduce gasoline consumption or promote the use of alternative fuels, the New York Times reported Thursday.
General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler have made 1.2 million dual-fuel vehicles, almost all of which are designed to burn either ethanol or gasoline, the newspaper said. But virtually none of the vehicles are actually using ethanol, partly because fewer than 1 in 1,000 of U.S. service stations sell it, the paper quoted the report as saying.
Automakers who produce dual-fuel vehicles receive credits that allow them to lower the average gas mileage of the rest of their fleets, allowing them to sell more fuel-guzzling sport utility vehicles, the Times said.
Consequently, U.S. gasoline consumption rose 473 million gallons in 2000, and will rise more steeply in coming years, as more vehicles are produced under the law, the newspaper quoted the report as warning.
Rather than halt the program, the report recommends that more be done to increase the amount of ethanol actually burned by the dual-fuel vehicles, the Times said.