The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is launching a 10-year effort to reduce its reliance on gasoline and diesel supplies by developing alternative fuel reservoirs made from coal and organic sources.

“We plan to use homegrown biofuels and ethanol along with Pennsylvania’s vast coal reserves to become more energy independent,” said Gov. Edward G. Rendell. “By focusing public and private investments in new technologies that create jobs and clean the environment, we can provide our consumers and businesses with the reliable sources of affordable energy they need to compete and succeed.”

The Governor’s PennSecurity Fuels Initiative, which he plans to present to the legislature July 31, aims to spur clean domestic fuel development, diversifying supplies to enhance security and stabilize costs. Rendell pointed out that the economic benefits of the plan could be huge, as Pennsylvanians spend some $30 billion per year on imported fuels.

One goal of the new plan is to replace the 900-million gallons of gasoline and diesel used annually by the state’s transportation fleets with alternative fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, or with fuels derived from coal liquefaction processes equipped with carbon offsets.

Another element of Rendell’s initiative requires that a certain percentage of transportation fuels sold at retail in Pennsylvania contain eligible fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, coal-derived sources, methane gas derived from landfills or coal-mine methane, as well as biodiesel.

Pennsylvania also plans to invest $30 million in existing funds from the state's Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant program over the next five years to build re-fueling and production infrastructure to support the standard for alternative fuel distribution to consumers.

Finally, Rendell said the alternative fuel program will create incentives for Pennsylvania farmers to grow the feedstocks that produce ethanol and biodiesel, while providing safeguards to consumers against price increases by allowing alterations or delays in the compliance schedule if prices of eligible alternative fuels rise above conventional fuels by a certain level for a prolonged period.