WASHINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Citing delays in reconciling energy legislation passed by both chambers of Congress earlier this year, two Democratic senators on Thursday unveiled a stand-alone bill to require 18 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be blended with U.S. gasoline supply by 2016.
Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat and 2008 presidential candidate, and Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat and chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, offered a bill that would raise the U.S. renewable fuel standard to 18 billion gallons by 2016, including 3 billion gallons from advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol.
An energy bill the Senate passed in June would mandate a four-fold increase in ethanol use in motor gasoline, to 36 billion gallons by 2022.
However, attempts to reconcile the Senate bill with the version passed by the House of Representatives have stalled. The House bill contains no ethanol mandates.
U.S. ethanol plants are forecast to produce about 6.5 billion gallons in 2007, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.