Thursday, June 21, 2007

Senate Drops Clean Energy Incentives, Oks Fuel Efficency Plan

Believe it or not, today the U.S. Senate approved a compromise that would raise fuel efficiency standards (for the first time in 30 years) to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 for all cars, trucks, and SUVs. Lawmakers approved with a voice vote.

The law as written right now would also require 36 billion gallons of ethanol to be used in gasoline by 2022 and takes steps to ban gasoline price profiteering.

On the other hand, Senators also dropped $32 billion in clean energy incentives from the legislation after Republicans objected the $29 billion of extra taxes on U.S. oil companies, which would have funded most of the clean energy incentives. The loss of incentives will be a blow to wind, solar, and geothermal energy producers, according to CNN.

Senators also dropped plans for making transportation fuels from coal, and for a renewable energy standard that would have required utilities to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020.

There's been no action from the House side on fuel efficiency yet. Earlier this week, Democrats stalled action on fuel efficiency standards that were part of energy legislation that Speaker Pelosi wants to pass next month.

Lawmakers are eager to finish the energy bill so they can start debating immigration policy reform.

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