The US Senate debated an energy bill yesterday that would raise auto fuel economy standards for the first time in nearly 20 years and make oil industry price gouging a federal crime.
Democratic leaders in both the Senate and House said they want broad energy legislation passed before the Fourth of July congressional recess, hoping to dampen growing voter anger over paying well above $3 a gallon at gasoline pumps across the country.
The Senate bill urges automakers to boost their fuel economy to a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, about a 40 percent increase over what new cars and the less fuel-efficient SUVs and pickup trucks are required to attain today. The auto standard of 27.5 mpg was last increased 18 years ago. SUVs and small trucks must achieve a fleet average of 22.2 mpg.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday the bill would help reduce the country’s reliance on oil – an addiction that consumes more than 21 million barrels a day, nearly two-thirds of it imported.
Typically, the White House issued a statement opposing many of the bill’s most critical parts, including the mandatory increase in automobile fuel economy. It also said President Bush would be urged to veto the legislation if it contained the price-gouging language.
Bush should have stayed in Albania where the local loved him so much one of them even stole his watch.