Concerns Over the Department of Energy's Program and Organization for Developing and Promoting the Use of Alcohol Fuels

EMD-80-88: Published: Jul 22, 1980. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 1980.

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A recent review of the potential of alcohol for use as fuel for motor vehicles resulted in concern over the Federal efforts at exploiting this potential.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has yet to develop a comprehensive program for alcohol fuels, including appropriate plans, goals, and strategies. The effectiveness of the recently created DOE Office of Alcohol Fuels may be impaired due to limitations on its span of authority and responsibility and, relatedly, on the level to which the Office reports. While ethanol is currently being produced, the potential of methane from coal is not being considered by this Office. The technology to produce both fuels is available. Both fuels can have a significant role in resolving the Nation's liquid fuels shortage.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary, DOE, should establish a comprehensive and balanced program for alcohol fuels and develop a definitive program plan setting forth appropriate commercialization goals, milestones, and strategies for both ethanol and methanol. He should also ensure that from an organizational standpoint, methanol from coal is brought into the mainstream of those activities aimed at promoting the development and use of alcohol fuels. This can be accomplished by establishing an integrating mechanism, such as a standing committee chaired by the director of the Office of Alcohol Fuels and assigned responsibility for coordinating those alcohol fuels activities that currently do not come within the purview of that Office. Regardless of the integrating mechanism used, the Office should be required to report directly to the Secretary or the Under Secretary of DOE.

    Agency Affected:


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