Late last week, the Senate passed an energy bill that calls for more fuel-efficient vehicles, outlaws energy price gouging and requires huge increases in the production of ethanol.
This latest change, the first increase in vehicle fuel efficiency since 1989, would up CAFE to
Supporters said the new requirement would save
It now awaits action by the House, expected this coming week. And since the House and Senate energy measures likely will be different, they'll have to be hashed out and probably won't make it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for final action until later this year.
Differing perspectives: Despite Senate approval, some on Capitol Hill weren't very happy.
Democrats didn't get the
Bloggers, as expected, also have widely diverse takes on the bill.
Tim at Environmental Economics says the bill "contains more overwhelming evidence of the unwillingness of Congress to pay attention to basic economic principles."
Meanwhile, Kari at It's Getting Hot in Here characterizes the legislation as Halfway on CAFE.
And Mark at Straightline's Carnival of Cars says "Detroit best prepare for all those liability suits that will be filed because 35 mpg cars will have to be lighter, meaning more people will die in accidents as a result. Ambulance chasers call that harvesting a new field of litigation."
Price gouging provision: In addition to increased CAFE standards, the Senate bill outlaws price gouging.
For the first time, it would be a federal crime to charge "unconscionably excessive" prices for petroleum products at the wholesale or retail level. Critics of the provisions say the measure amounts to price regulation and could lead to supply shortages.
Don't Mess With Taxes readers apparently aren't too concerned about whether current high pump prices are the result of intentional overcharges. According to our vacation transportation survey, most of them are still driving to their summer destinations, whatever the costs.
You can check out the full survey results (poll #15) at this archives page.
CAFE image courtesy of
Environmental Health Perspectives, 2002 article.