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Fuel mileage requirements-New bill in Congress

Old 12-18-2007, 11:34 AM
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Default Fuel mileage requirements-New bill in Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress is set to increase fuel mileage requirements for automobiles and SUVs for the first time in 32 years and President Bush has signaled he will accept the new mandates on the auto industry.

Democratic leaders were confident the House will pass an energy bill Tuesday that includes a new 35-miles-per-gallon standard, a huge increase in the use of ethanol and new energy efficiency standards for appliances and building construction.

"This legislation is a historic turning point in energy policy," said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland because it will cut demand for foreign oil and promote nonfossil fuels that will cut greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

It increases energy efficiency "from light bulbs to light trucks," said Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., a longtime protector of the auto industry who was key to a compromise on vehicle efficiency increases.

Many Republicans denounced the Democratic-crafted bill for failing to push for more domestic production of fossil fuels and for mandates some GOP lawmakers warned will not be possible.

"What we have here is a mandatory conservation bill," said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. He argued that both the auto fuel efficiency requirements and the huge increase in ethanol use may not prove to be technologically or economically possible.

Democrats disagreed. The legislation takes measured and concrete steps that are achievable, said Dingell.

The Senate passed the bill last week after discarding billions of dollars in higher taxes on oil companies and a solar and wind power mandate that opponents said would raise electric rates in the Southeast. Those measures were opposed by President Bush and Senate Republicans.

The centerpiece of the bill remained the requirement for automakers to increase their industrywide vehicle fuel efficiency by 40 percent to an industry average of 35 mpg by 2020 compared to today's 25 mpg when including passenger cars as well as SUVs and small trucks.

Congress has not changed the auto mileage requirement since it was first enacted in 1975.

Democrats said the fuel economy requirements eventually -- when the fleet of gas-miser vehicles are widely on the road -- will save motorists $700 to $1,000 a year in fuel costs. They maintain the overall bill, including more ethanol use and various efficiency requirements and incentives, will reduce U.S. oil demand by 4 million barrels a day by 2030, more than twice the daily imports from the volatile Persian Gulf.

The automakers have repeatedly fought an increase in the federal fuel standard, known as CAFE, maintaining it would limit the range of vehicles consumers will have available in showrooms and threaten auto industry jobs. Bush also has argued against an arbitrary, numerical increase in the fuel efficiency requirement, preferring instead legislation to streamline the federal requirements and market incentives to get rid of gas guzzling vehicles.

But the automakers have accepted the political shift toward a tougher requirement. After the Senate approved the legislation last week, the White House immediately said Bush would sign it once it reaches his desk.

The bill requires a massive increase in the production of ethanol for motor fuels, outlining a rampup of ethanol use from the roughly 6 billion gallons this year to 36 billion gallons by 2022. After 2015, the emphasis would be on expanded use of cellulosic ethanol, made from such feedstock as switchgrass and wood chips, with two thirds of the ethanol -- 21 billion gallons a year -- from such non-corn sources.

However, commercially viable production of cellulosic ethanol has yet to be proven and some Republicans have argued that the new requirements could be impossible to meet and may raise corn prices and food supplies.

The bill requires improved efficiency standards for lighting, commercial and government buildings, and appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashe
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Old 12-18-2007, 02:54 PM
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Default RE: Fuel mileage requirements-New bill in Congress

__________________
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
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Old 02-12-2008, 07:59 PM
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Default RE: Fuel mileage requirements-New bill in Congress

thanks jeremiah. for the disappointing news, even thoughthere maybe a couple of good years left.
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