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Senate Passes Major Energy Bill

June 22, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

In Between rounds of immigration debate, The Senate managed to score a huge victory by passing a bill to update U.S. energy policy:

>The Senate passed a sweeping energy legislation package last night that would mandate the first substantial change in the nation’s vehicle fuel-efficiency law since 1975 despite opposition from auto companies and their Senate supporters.
>After three days of intense debate and complex maneuvering, Democratic leaders won passage of the bill shortly before midnight by a 65 to 27 vote.
>The package, which still must pass the House, would also require that the use of biofuels climb to 36 billion gallons by 2022, would set penalties for gasoline price-gouging and would give the government new powers to investigate oil companies’ pricing. It would provide federal grants and loan guarantees to promote research into fuel-efficient vehicles and would support test projects to capture carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants to be stored underground.
>Democratic leaders said they hoped the legislation will be a rallying point for voters concerned about national security, climate change and near-record gasoline prices.
>"This bill starts America on a path toward reducing our reliance on oil by increasing the nation’s use of renewable fuels and for the first time in decades significantly improving the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks," said Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader.

It’s been decades since the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard has been raised. The current standard was set by Congress in 1975 and there haven’t been any significant improvements in fuel economy since 1984, when the auto industry caught up with the standards set a decade earlier.

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