The Senate has passed an energy bill that establishes new fuel economy standards.
One of the key changes is that the new standards will be “fleet wide” rather than having different standards for trucks and SUVs.
What’s in the Senate energy legislation:
* An increase in automobile fuel economy requirements to a fleet-wide average of 35 mpg by 2020 from the current requirements of 27.5 mpg for cars and 22.2 mpg for SUVs and small trucks.
* Requires that half of the new cars manufactured by 2015 be capable of running on 85 percent ethanol or biodiesel fuels.
* A requirement to produce 36 billion gallons a year of ethanol, as a substitute for gasoline, by 2022, a sevenfold increase over production in 2006. Ethanol would be made from corn and cellulosic sources such as prairie grass and wood chips.
* Price gouging provisions that make it unlawful to charge an “unconscionably excessive” price for oil products including gasoline and give the federal government new authority to investigate oil industry market manipulation.
* New appliance and lighting efficiency standards and a requirement that the federal government accelerate use of more efficient lighting in public buildings.
* Grants, loan guarantees and other assistance to promote research into fuel efficient vehicles, including hybrids, advanced diesel and battery technologies.
* Support for large-scale demonstrations that capture carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants and inject it into the ground.