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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/14/2005 12:24:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2005 12:35:14 PM EDT by Torf]
Bipartisan bill would require better mileage


By Julie Vorman 2 hours, 18 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bipartisan group of House lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bill that would require automakers to boost the fuel efficiency of new vehicles to an average 33 miles per gallon over the coming decade from the current 25 mpg.

Hurricane Katrina's effect on U.S. gasoline supplies is a wake-up call for the nation to begin trying to slow oil demand growth, the lawmakers said. The United States is the world's biggest consumer of oil, and most of it is used for transportation.

New York Republican Sherwood Boehlert and Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey said the stricter mileage standard proposed in their legislation would save an estimated 2.6 million barrels of oil per day by 2025.

Environmental groups and many Democrats have called for stricter mileage standards for years but U.S. automakers have resisted, saying such changes would be costly to make and could result in lighter, less-safe vehicles for consumers.

Last week, the Republican head of the Senate Energy Committee made a surprising plea for lawmakers to take a closer look at mileage requirements, also known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Sen. Pete Domenici (news, bio, voting record) said stricter standards may be needed as one of several ways to ease rising gasoline costs for consumers.

"Without a doubt, the biggest beneficiaries of this bill will be the American consumers. They are sick and tired of paying skyrocketing prices for gasoline. They want relief," Boehlert said in a statement.

The stricter standards mean that buyers of sport utility vehicles and pick-up trucks could save an estimated $2,000 in fuel costs over the life of the vehicle, based on a retail gasoline price of $2 a gallon, the lawmakers said.

The legislation would also strengthen national security by reducing the growth in imported oil, he said. The United States consumes nearly 21 million barrels per day of oil, and more than half must be imported.

"This bill, more so than any provision in the recently-enacted energy bill, will lessen that dependence," Boehlert said.

The lawmakers cited a 2002
National Academy of Sciences study which said technologies already exist to squeeze more mileage out of a gallon of gasoline, without sacrificing safety. Boehlert also noted U.S. automakers recently signed a voluntary agreement with Canada on greenhouse gas emissions that effectively raises fuel efficiency by 25 percent for vehicles sold in that country.

The bill would allow the Transportation Department to set separate mileage standards based on vehicle sizes, as long as the overall average of the fleet is at least 33 mpg.

The House measure is sponsored by ten Republicans, including Ray LaHood of Illinois and Jim Leach of Iowa, and eight Democrats.

Fuck you too, Ray Lahood! My inlaws live within 500 feet of him and he drives a big Suburban. I see it all the time. Quit telling US how to live! Lower my taxes instead!

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