Remarks on Signing the Alternative Motor Fuels Act of 1988

 

October 14, 1988

 

Well, Members of Congress and distinguished guests, good afternoon. We're here today to sign into law an investment in America's future: the Alternative Motor Fuels Act of 1988. This bill is a landmark in the quest for alternative forms of energy. And believe me, when you're my age you just love hearing about alternative sources of energy. [Laughter]

 

I'm particularly proud this afternoon because I remember more than 4 years ago, at a Cabinet meeting in January 1984, and I asked Vice President George Bush to launch a thorough investigation of alternative energy and see what he could find -- not pie-in-the-sky demonstration projects but real-world possibilities and realistic options that would help keep our air clean and our nation less dependent on foreign oil.

 

That's what's so exciting about the bill before us today: The forms of energy encouraged by this bill are already in use. Methanol, for example, is used in the Indianapolis 500 and in other race cars because it simultaneously enhances performance and safety. And cars that run on methanol have the potential to reduce emissions by an amazing 50 percent and improve efficiency. For areas like southern California, that could be a Godsend. A few months ago, Vice President Bush dedicated the first methanol pump on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. And this bill gives American automobile companies a real incentive to start building cars powered by alternative fuels by adjusting the federally mandated average fuel economy ratings to reflect the gasoline saved by these vehicles.

 

This legislation also opens up new markets for natural gas and coal, our two most plentiful energy resources in this country. The success of these projects could improve employment and the economies in the hard-pressed oil- and gas-producing areas of the country. This bill takes advantage of existing government programs and mechanisms to assist alternative fuels. Most important, it's not intended to create massive new bureaucracies or new taxpayer subsidies.

 

So, I thank you, and may God bless you all. And I'm now going to sign that bill into law.

 

Note: S. 1518, approved October 14, was assigned Public Law No. 100 - 494.