Skip to comments.Dems Reach Deal on Energy Bill
Posted on 12/01/2007 3:36:32 PM PST by CutePuppy
Dems Reach Deal on Energy Bill By H. JOSEF HEBERT 14 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) An agreement among congressional Democrats including those from auto industry states to support a 40 percent increase in vehicle fuel efficiency is likely to be the tonic needed to push energy legislation through Congress before Christmas.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., a longtime protector of the auto industry, settled their differences in an agreement late Friday on the fuel economy, or CAFE, issue, clearing the way for a House vote on a broader energy bill, probably on Wednesday.
Automakers would be required to meet an industrywide average of 35 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks, including SUVs, by 2020, the first increase by Congress in car fuel efficiency in 32 years.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada called the compromise "good news" and said he hoped to take up the legislation quickly after the House acts.
Dingell said the tougher standards are "both aggressive and attainable" and include provisions that give manufacturers the needed flexibility to bring SUVs and small trucks under compliance and to avoid job losses.
"We have achieved consensus on several provisions that provide critical environmental safeguards without jeopardizing American jobs," said Dingell in a statement.
Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement that the tougher CAFE requirements "will serve as the cornerstone" of the energy bill, which also is expected to require a sharp increase in ethanol use as a motor fuel and require nonpublic electric utilities to produce 15 percent of their power from renewable energy sources such as wind or solar energy.
The amount of ethanol required to be used as a motor fuel would be ramped up to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022, a sevenfold increase over today's production.
Dingell's support for the new CAFE requirements avoids what otherwise was almost certain to have been a contentious some say "bloody" floor debate over energy next week. Dingell, the longest serving member of the House and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, likely would have been joined by a number of other Democrats in opposing the bill.
Instead, the legislation, while criticized by most Republicans, is expected have smooth sailing.
But the negotiations had as much to do with the Senate as the House.
The compromise quickly received the endorsement of senators who have long opposed increased fuel economy legislation, and whose support is viewed by Democratic leaders as essential if the energy bill is to get the 60 votes need to overcome an almost certain GOP filibuster.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who strongly opposed the 35 mpg requirement when it passed the Senate in June, announced his support of the compromise.
It "will be challenging for auto manufacturers," he said. "(But) we got concessions on some of the most important issues."
Dingell had demand and won an extension of the use of so-called flex-fuel vehicles that run on 85 percent ethanol to offset some of the fuel efficiency increases until 2014 after which the program will be gradually phased out and eliminated in 2020. Automakers also are given greater flexibility in meeting new fuel efficiency for SUVs and pickups, and assurance of no "backsliding" on measures designed to protect U.S. auto industry jobs.
Still, the industry overall must achieve 35 mpg average, counting all vehicles, by 2020, compared with the current requirement of 27.5 mpg fleet average for cars a level that has not increased since 1989 and 22 mpg for SUVs, passenger vans and pickups.
"It is a major milestone and the first concrete legislation to address global warming," declared Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who was involved in the discussion with House Democrats as the agreement with Dingell was worked out.
The new requirements, which will be phased in over the next dozen years, "will offer the automobile industry the certainty it needs, while offering flexibility to automakers and ensuring we keep American manufacturing jobs and continued domestic production of smaller vehicles," said Pelosi.
House Republicans have strongly criticized the energy legislation, calling it the "non-energy bill' because it includes nothing to spur more domestic production of oil and natural gas or support for coal. Pelosi has responded, saying it was a "new direction" in energy away from fossil fuels toward more support for renewables and energy efficiency.
But to get the bill through the Senate and also avoid a threatened veto by President Bush Democratic leaders are expected to abandon attempts to impose nearly $16 billion in new taxes on the oil industry with the revenue to be used to support renewable energy sources and conservation.
It remained unclear Friday whether more limited tax provisions aimed at ensuring extensions of tax credits and incentives for renewable fuels development will survive.
Associated Press writer Ken Thomas contributed to this report.
“Dems Reach Deal on Energy Bill”
This cannot be a good thing for America.
Why are we allowing the states or Federal government to mandate what can be offered to people?
So this is what all those Pew Trust ads playing locally during the Limbaugh show have been about recently. Every time I heard one I wanted to yell DRILL IN ANWAR, but I know it would be a waste of breath.
1.) Somebody needs to tell Congress that there is less energy contained in a gallon of ethanol than a gallon of gasoline or a gallon of diesel. So MPG goes down significantly on ethnanol.
2.) And if utilities can't produce 15% of their power from the wind turbines that Ted Kennedy doesn't want to see near his estate, well, brownouts and blackouts, here we come!
Seems like Congress demanded 35 mpg thirty years ago. This is progress!
“Why are we allowing the states or Federal government to mandate what can be offered to people?”
Geez, do I have to tell you everything? Because the people cannot be trusted to make the right decisions. Therefore, the democrat party must take things from you (money, big cars, etc.) for your own good.
This is do-able. All we need is for Ford & Chevy to start producing 2-wheeled cars with 125cc engines, and for Pelosi to require us to buy them. Guess it will suck lining in northern NY, but perhaps global warming will bail us out.
I’m not sure why they didn’t just go whole hog and mandate we all use magnetic flying saucers powered by unobtainium.
Thanks for ping. Gasoline cost isn’t going down. That’s the starting point.
They were fun to drive.
The problem with unobtanium is that it can only be obtained by mining on Utopia which, as we know, is in another galaxy.
At least plutonium can be mined on Pluto, which, I suspect, is the real reason behind the conspiracy of declaring Pluto a non-planet.
Worthless would be an improvement.
I had a 1988 Thunderbird 3.8 liter V-6 that was very efficient on gas. First time I did the mileage test( I bought it used in 1991) it was like 26 mpg. It was not a small car.
I always liked its design. That’s because it was ahead of the car styling curve at the time. GM was still making boxes on wheels.
It was also a low maintenance car—had very little problems with it.
Bought a 1993 T-Bird in 1995 with 35,000 miles, and put 135,000 miles on it. Gave it to a friend a year and a half ago, and it is still going strong.
My son’s 1995 Cougar was a VERY comfortable well riding car, much more than the T-Birds, which shared the body.
You are right, what else is there for Dems to do, it is an elections season... isn't it always for them, though?
Another benefit for them is they are trying to expose some Republican Senators in "marginally red" states to a choice of voting against "clean air" and "energy independence" or being "a moderate" and voting for the bill and incur the wrath and/or apathy of conservatives on election day.
It's a no-lose proposition for Dems, which is how, I suppose, they convinced Dingell and some others "blue dog" Dems to go along with it.
WC, thanks for the link. Makes me want to buy another ‘88 T-Bird!
I love the sequential turn signals you can get now for them—I had them on my 1967 Cougar. Yellow, black segmented racing stripe, black vinyl roof, 289 V-8.
Had to sell that car to pay for the baby doctor—for previously mentioned son 30 years ago!
~~ AGW ping~~
Not really a fair comparison as the Mariner non hybrid starts at $2,000 more than a Ford Escape does. So your $5,000 difference is really $3,000. Also, did you adjust for inflation from 2003 to 3008?
I'll be replacing the vehicle before 3008 :-) Considering your adjustment, it's $3000 to improve 5 MPG. Here's the really good news...I purchased the vehicle in time to qualify for a $3,000 credit on my taxes. I put $5,000 down on top of a $13,000 trade-in for the 2003. That tax credit goes back to the savings account that supplied the $5,000. I got 70,000 miles of good service for the $10,000 difference between the acquisition cost of the 2003 Escape and the trade-in.
Assuming I keep the Mariner for 100,000 miles, I'll save 776 gallons of gasoline. At the current $3/gal, that translates to a savings of around $2300. That just repaid the rest of the $5,000 down payment after getting the tax credit. Essentially, I just paid $4,000 to purchase the creature comforts in the Mariner and started with a brand new vehicle. The tax credit and gas savings made the upgrade to a hybrid a wash.
BTW, the 2008 Mariner we purchased was being actively considered by Dawn Wells (Marianne from Gilligan's Island). We purchased it before she committed, so they had to order another one for her. Wells runs a film school in Driggs, ID and intended to use the vehicle to commute between Driggs, ID and Jackson, WY.
How do you like the Mariner out of curiousity? The wife looked at that but ended up choosing the Nissan Altima last year.
The obvious answer to increasing fuel efficiency is to make lighter vehicles. Lighter vehicles will lead to more highway deaths during accidents. Has anyone computed what the increased fuel efficiency will cost in terms of human lives?
In the summer, you have to select the "ECON" mode to preserve the hybrid functionality with the air conditioner engaged. If omitted, the vehicle runs like standard cars with the engine driving the air conditioner all the time. ECON cycles the engine on/off as necessary to keep the inside comfortable. The heating/air conditioning system has the ability to select separate temperatures on the passenger and driver side. The NAV system works very well. It in DVD and GPS based. The Sirius radio is fine, although I would have selected XM if given the option. The "line in" jack permits playing an iPOD or my XM myFI to remedy my preference in satellite radio.
The Mariner is essentially an Escape with much nicer trim and interior. The seats are adjustable and permit me to bring my 3 sons (6 ' 2.5" tall) in the back seat with plenty of leg room. The rear seats drop flat when I need extra cargo space. It's just about perfect for all the kinds of driving we do. The 4x4 capability with large wheels makes it very nimble in the snow...that was a requirement in this area.
I have a 1999 F150 4x4 SuperCab XLT as well. It does the heavy work in snow and carts my collection of garden tools to the second house all summer long. I don't put lots of miles on it. It was purchased in August 2003 with 22,500 miles on it. It just turned over 28,200 last week. My "commute" is zero miles. A 33 foot walk from where I sleep.
BTW, my wife looked at a Nissan Santa Fe just before we purchased the 2003 Ford Escape. We got a better deal on the Escape as it had 20,000 miles on it vs a new purchase. After 50,000 miles of good experiences in the Escape, we opted for the Mariner as a replacement.
“Has anyone computed what the increased fuel efficiency will cost in terms of human lives?”
The calculations have been made. I think Rush has discussed them.