The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a toned-down version of an energy bill that will boost fuel-economy requirements for cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 — the first such increase since 1975. The bill, which was approved by the Senate last week, also mandates using 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022 and will increase efficiency requirements for some appliances. Dropped from the bill in exchange for passage, however, were provisions that would have required utilities to get 15 percent of their energy from renewables, and would have invested billions of dollars in renewables to be paid for by cutting tax breaks and subsidies to the oil and gas industry. Nevertheless, legislators weren’t shy about talking up the bill’s significance. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declared the bill “groundbreaking in what it will do.” And House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said, “This legislation is a historic turning point in energy policy.” Expect a lot more gushing when President Bush signs the bill into law tomorrow.
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