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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL)

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006
ST. PAUL- State Senator Scott Dibble and State Representative Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis along with Representatives Laura Brod and Greg Davids are introducing legislation to encourage plug-in hybrids, a new kind of energy efficient vehicle that can also run on 85% ethanol blended gasoline, to be developed and built in Minnesota. A plug-in, hybrid, flexible fuel vehicle combines electric vehicle technology, with a standard gas/electric hybrid that can burn E-85. The car can be charged with a standard home outlet and will run 40-90 percent of its miles, depending on driving area, without burning a drop of gasoline. All other times, the car will work like fuel-efficient hybrids already on the market and can burn renewable E-85 gasoline. The bill calls for research grants to Minnesota State University, Mankato for further research; converting the state vehicle fleet to plug-in hybrids; setting sales goals; and creating incentives for Ford to build these vehicles in St. Paul. Dibble said these vehicles make sense for Minnesotans and all Americans, "Plug-in hybrid flexible fuel vehicles cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce dependence on foreign oil, can keep jobs in St. Paul, increase ethanol demand for farmers, lower fuel costs, and make Minnesota a leader in clean energy." "There is a demand for these vehicles in Minnesota, if you build it we will come," Hornstein added. "Minnesota has the ideal conditions for this new technology. Farmers have created a comprehensive ethanol industry; renewable electricity from wind farms in Greater Minnesota can provide the electricity needed; and the Ford plant has been running on renewable hydropower for years. While announcing the bill, the lawmakers were accompanied by leaders from higher education, electric utility, and non-profit sectors of Minnesota. -30-