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Historic Energy Bill Will Increase Fuel Ifficiency Standards

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC


President Bush to Sign Democratic Bill Into Law

For the first time in 32 years, Congress has approved an increase in automobile fuel efficiency standards. This critical step is part of a larger historic energy bill that will help cut greenhouse gas emissions, save consumers money, and make America more secure. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) called the measure a major achievement for consumers, the environment and the economy and said it was ‘Exhibit A' in the difference an election makes.

"This bill is a huge victory for Americans and ‘Exhibit A' in showing the difference an election makes," Miller said. "For years, the Republican Congress approved more subsidies for oil companies, tax breaks for Hummers, and oil drilling in pristine wilderness. Under Speaker Pelosi, in just one year, the Democratic Congress has changed course for America's energy consumption. We have a long road ahead of us; we all know that. But as they say, every journey begins with a first step, and today we took a giant step first forward on this critical journey toward a sustainable, efficient, and profitable energy future for our country.

"This bill gives us the opportunity to break with the past, to break with the stranglehold of the old way of thinking, both about our transportation sector and about our energy sector," Miller added. "To introduce into that sector the competition of alternative energy sources, of renewable energy sources, and efficient automobiles -- it will change America dramatically."

The Energy Independence and Security Act, which Speaker Pelosi set as a personal priority against great odds earlier this year, will increase vehicle fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon in 2020—the first congressional increase in 32 years - and slash U.S. oil consumption by more than 4 million barrels per day by 2030. The legislation expands the use of American-grown biofuels to 36 billion gallons in 2022 and increases the efficiency of buildings, homes, appliances, and lighting. All totaled, the bill will help cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by up to 24 percent of what the U.S. needs to do to help protect our planet.

The legislation will also save money for American consumers and strengthen the economy. Increased vehicle fuel efficiency will save American families $700 to $1,000 a year at the pump and the new building, appliance, and lighting efficiency will save consumers $400 billion through 2030. Additionally, the development of biofuels and support for cutting-edge energy research will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

"Californians know the value of sustainable energy solutions - our state has led the nation in energy efficiency efforts," Miller said. "This bill follows the state's lead by making auto fuel efficiency and other energy saving steps a national priority. We know there is more that we can and must do, and we expect to start work on those other efforts immediately. But today's bill is historic, it is essential, and it is good for our country."

Among other things, the legislation:

# Will increase fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 for new cars and trucks, a historic fuel economy compromise that is supported by labor, the environmental community, and the automobile industry. This is the first increase by Congress since 1975, and is projected to save American families $700 to $1000 per year at the pump, with $22 billion in net consumer savings in 2020 alone. The current average is 25 mpg.

# Requires improved Federal and commercial building energy efficiency, with green building standards for new federal buildings and an initiative to develop technologies, practice and policies to reduce the amount of energy commercial buildings use.

# Contains numerous provisions to improve energy efficiency, promote the use of renewable energy, including biofuels, and increase mass transit use -- all of which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from American homes, offices, industries, vehicles, and federal facilities.

# Supports Green Collar jobs by creating an Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Program to train a quality workforce for new energy jobs like solar panel manufacturers and green building construction workers. This provision was developed and approved by the Education and Labor Committee that Miller chairs, and was inspired by a program in the Bay Area of California.

More information about the bill, numbered H.R. 6, is available from the Speaker of the House and from the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

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