The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday passed a broad energy bill that will boost automobile fuel efficiency standards and require more use of renewable fuels like ethanol.
Following is a summary of some key items of the Energy Independence and Security Act, already passed by the Senate, which President George W. Bush is expected to sign into law this week:
Vehicle Fuel Economy:
- Increases Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards to 35 miles per gallon (15 km per liter) by 2020 -- the first congressional increase in 32 years.
- Sets separate standards for cars and light trucks.
- Beginning in 2011 model year, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration annually increases nationwide CAFE standard. For 2021-2030 model years, car and light truck standards rise at a "maximum feasible rate" set by NHTSA.
- Automakers can trade fuel economy credits earned between the passenger car and light truck fleets when they exceed goals, and borrow against future gains for up to 3 years.
- Could lower U.S. crude oil usage by 2 million barrels per day -- or 8 percent -- by 2030, according to government estimates.
- Increased vehicle fuel efficiency will save American families $700 to $1,000 a year at the pump.
Renewable Fuel Mandate:
- Expands mandate for U.S.-grown biofuels, such as ethanol, to 36 billion gallons in 2022, versus current levels near 6.5 billion gallons. Near-term usage requirement goes to 9 billion gallons in 2008 and 15.2 billion gallons in 2011.
- Caps ethanol supply from corn at 15 billion gallons; the rest must come from non-food "cellulosic" sources, such as switchgrass and wood chips.
- Bans companies from restricting installation of ethanol pumps as part of franchise agreements.
Efficiency and Research:
- Increases the efficiency of buildings, homes, appliances, and lighting, reducing heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions 75 percent.
- Building, appliance, and lighting efficiency will save consumers $400 billion through 2030.
- Phases out use of incandescent lightbulbs, cutting energy use from light bulbs by 60 percent by 2020.
- Requires dishwashers to cut water usage by 28 percent and clothes washers by 40 percent.
- Sets new incentives for developing energy from wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable sources.
- Funds new research into capturing carbon emissions from coal plants and sequestering them in underground reservoirs.