Senate Passes Energy Bill With New Fuel Economy Standards

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.

From CNN:

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.


Senate passes energy bill, boosting mileage standards [CNN]
(Photo: Jeff Holbrook)


Edit Your Comment

  1. JustAGuy2 says:

    Yet another waste of DC’s time. Scrap CAFE, and institute a $0.10/gallon/quarter increase the gas tax (i.e. taxes go up 10c every three months). That’ll do far more to reduce gas consumption than the CAFE standards will, as they ignore the fact that someone who drives 50 miles each way to work in a Prius is a much bigger environmental problem than someone who drives 5 miles each way in a Hummer.

  2. balthisar says:

    So is it 35 mpg on pure gasoline, or 35 mpg with that crappy E85 that has less energy and costs more?

  3. B says:

    Okay, now let’s all clap our hands and pretend that this bill will actually make it through the house and get signed into a law by the President.

  4. Skiffer says:

    Fuck coal – where’s our nuclear research grants?

  5. sleze69 says:

    What happened to the proposed taxes on oil companies?

  6. Anitra says:

    @JustAGuy2: Ah, but the guy who drives 5 miles in a Hummer almost certainly has other options. He could walk or bike or maybe take public transportation. The guy going 50 miles has a lot fewer options available to reduce his gas consumption further. He might be able to take public transport or carpool… other than that, the only thing he can do is to move closer to his job.

    Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with higher gas taxes. Unfortunately, they put a unnecessarily high burden on the rural/suburban poor, who can’t get to work except by driving.

  7. bachill says:


    My poorly tuned, 17 year old car that can go 100 mph gets 30 mpg while leaking both oil and coolent.

    Pathetic targets for a modern car, let alone a 2020 car.

  8. SaveMeJeebus says:

    1. Senate passes a fuel economy standards bill
    2. President immediately vetoes it because he is the decider
    3. Profit!

  9. Caswell says:

    What I’m curious to see is how the previously earned CAFE credits factor into this.

    The Japanese OEMs have CAFE credits out the rear from the days when all they sold were compact cars. If the slate isn’t wiped clean on those credits when the new requirements phase in, you’re looking at one segment of the market that’s able to produce and sell gas guzzlers like the Toyota Tundra while the other is competing to different standards.

    Honestly, I’m with Bob Lutz on this one. Trying to solve our dependence on foreign oil by forcing OEMs to sell smaller vehicles is like trying to stop obesity by mandating that clothing retailers only sell small size clothing.

  10. mackjaz says:

    While we’re at it, let’s add car insurance tax on every gallon of gas. We’d get cheaper, truly universal, coverage based on the amount of use/risk. Even good drivers would end up paying less, and bad drivers, so often uninsured, would have to pay their share.

  11. mac-phisto says:

    you know, i’m pretty damn tired of politicians ignoring the real problems with their legislation. this month, i get to take time out of my busy schedule to make sure that my 6 year old 4-cylinder toyota can pass emission standards. meanwhile, i had the pleasure of following a convoy of dump trucks spewing all kinds of niceties into the air. not a single one of those trucks will be required to pass an emissions test anytime soon.

    commercial vehicles dispense the most particulates into the air, consume unholy amounts of fuel, & cause the most damage to our roadways, yet they get a free pass every time some blowhard decides to make the rule books thicker.

  12. Buran says:

    @JustAGuy2: Huh? The Hummer is exempt from the pollution rules that govern that Prius.

  13. sleze69 says:

    @mac-phisto: The next time your 4-cylinder toyota hauls 20,000 lbs of concrete, call and complain to the dump truck manufacturers. Commercial equipment is not exempted because of some power lobby from Mack trucks. It is exempted because 1000 horsepower engines consume a tremendous amount of energy BY DESIGN.

    While each one clearly adds more pollution when compared to your corrola, the pollution of entire fleet of mack trucks is dwarfed by the pollution of the entire fleet of corrolas.

  14. rmz says:

    Price gouging provisions that make it unlawful to charge an “unconscionably excessive” price for oil products including gasoline

    If that’s the exact terminology the bill uses, this is completely useless. Once you leave it up to investigators’ discretion whether something is “unconscionably expensive” or not, you’ll get people looking the other way for kickbacks or campaign contributions.

  15. MalichiDemonos says:

    phase 1: Steal underpants
    phase 2: ?????
    phase 3: Profit $$$$
    The underpants gnomes must have thought this one up.

  16. mac-phisto says:

    @sleze69: well first, i don’t own a corolla anymore. second, you’re right that mack isn’t the one lining pockets. they left that to the transport & farm industries. third, i understand the power requirements of a large commercial vehicle. but can nothing be done to make these vehicles pollute less? it’s hard to say, the issue is never addressed.

    even if nothing can be done, money makes everything better. tax the highest polluting vehicles & create tax breaks to replace old equipment with newer, more efficient equipment. or use the money to invest in more environmentally-sound technology.

    commercial vehicles pollute A LOT, yet they are unbound by any standards designed to control pollution. that’s bullshit.

  17. ptkdude says:

    @SaveMeJeebus: I thought he was a uniter not a decider. Wait, that doesn’t sound right ;-)

  18. anatak says:

    the issue is never addressed by the people doing all the talking and back-patting – Toyota and Honda.

    I like that has GM started at the opposite end of the spectrum and addressed trucks and City buses, not 4-cyl cars.

  19. coss3n says:

    A requirement to produce 36 billion gallons of ethanol? Well I guess this won’t totally send prices through the roof… as long as we all stop eating.

  20. skrom says:

    Damn hippies trying to make us drive sloths again just to “save the environment” We will all be dead by the time the environment is uninhabitable anyway so why not enjoy ourselves.

  21. leftistcoast says:

    skrom – you’re clearly either a sarcastic wit or a total idiot. If the latter, perhaps you should learn to play the fiddle…

    The sad bit about this bill is the stuff that it doesn’t contain: The renewable portfolio standard that it originally contained (which would have required public utilities to generate a portion of their electricity from renewable energy resources) got axed, as did the 29 billion dollar tax that was to be levied on the oil companies to fund renewable energy development.

    Admittedly, the definition the original bill contained of ‘renewable energy resource’ was overly broad (not unlike the vast majority of the 24 state RPSs out there), but at least it would have been a start. And don’t get me started on the ethanol mandate…ri-friggin-diculous. As are the tepid CAFE increases.