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Bush Signs Bill Boosting Fuel Standards

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                   January 1, 2008

Bush Signs Bill Boosting Fuel Standards

President Bush signed into law Wednesday legislation that 
will bring more fuel-efficient vehicles into auto showrooms 
and require wider use of ethanol, calling it "a major step" 
toward energy independence and easing global warming. 

The legislation signed by Bush at a ceremony at the Energy 
Department requires automakers to increase fuel efficiency 
by 40 percent to an industry average 35 miles per gallon 
by 2020. It also ramps up production of ethanol use to 
36 billion gallonsa year by 2022. 

Bush said the new requirements will help "address our 
vulnerabilities and dependency" on foreign oil by reducing 
demand for gasoline and diversifying the nation's fuel 

"We make a major step... toward reducing our dependence 
on oil, fighting global climate change, expanding the 
production of renewable fuels and giving future 
generations... a nation that is stronger cleaner and 
more secure," said the president. 

Bush was flanked by Democrat and Republican members of 
Congress who had ushered the legislation through. 


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The House passed the energy bill Tuesday by a 314-100 
vote after the Senate cleared it last week following 
lengthy negotiations and sometimes testy confrontations. 
Bush had vowed to veto the original legislation passed 
by the House because it included $21 billion in taxes. 

The tax provisions were dropped to get the bill approved. 

Congress delivered the legislation to the White House late 
Tuesday in a gas-hybrid sedan. 

Bush noted that earlier this year he had proposed a plan 
to cut gasoline use by 20 percent over the next 10 years. 
But the president has long opposed arbitrary numerical 
standards for vehicle fuel economy. 

The legislation increases the federal standard automakers 
must meet to an industry wide 35 mpg for passengers cars, 
SUVs and small trucks. The standard for cars today is 
27.5 mpg and for trucks and SUVs 22.2 mpg. 

It requires refineries to increase the use of ethanol from 
about 6 billion gallons a year this year to 36 billion 
gallons by 2022 and mandates that by then at least 21 
billion gallons are to come from feedstocks other than 


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Today's Deal of the Day

Bush praised that provision which would spur the develop-
ment of ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks such as prairie 
grass and wood chips. 

"We understand the hog growers are getting nervous. The 
price of corn is up," said the president. 

Flanking Bush were Senate Majority Harry Reid of Nevada and 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California as well as Rep. 
John Dingell, D-Mich., a longtime protector of the auto 
industry. Dingell played a key role in working out a 
compromise on the vehicle fuel economy measure. 

Democrats have hailed the legislation as a turn to a new 
direction in U.S. energy policy. 

"I firmly believe this country needs to have a 
comprehensive energy strategy," said Bush before signing 
the bill. He referred to the need for more nuclear energy 
and domestic oil production issues that the new energy 
bill ignores. 


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Instead, the bill focuses largely on conservation, calling 
for more energy efficiency in "light bulbs to light trucks" 
as Dingell observed during the House debate on the 

"This is a choice between yesterday and tomorrow" on energy 
policy, Pelosi said Tuesday shortly before the House passed 
the bill, sending it to the White House. 

The bill also calls for improved energy efficiency of 
appliances such as refrigerators, freezers and dishwashers, 
and a 70 percent increase in the efficiency of light bulbs. 
It also calls for energy efficiency improvements in federal 
buildings and construction of commercial buildings. 

The new lighting standards alone are projected to lower 
consumers' annual electricity bills by $13 billion in 2020, 
remove the need for 60 mid-size power plants and reduce 
emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, 
by 100 million tons a year, said the advocacy group 
Alliance to Save Energy. 

Democrats said the fuel economy requirements will save 
motorists $700 to $1,000 a year in fuel costs and reduce 
oil demand by 1.1 million barrels a day when the fuel-
stingy vehicles are widely on the road. 

The overall bill including more ethanol use and various 
efficiency requirements and incentives, will cut U.S. oil 
demand by 4 million barrels a day by 2030, more than twice 
the current daily imports from the volatile Persian Gulf, 
Democrats said. 

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