December 18, 2007

Senate approves energy bill, House reconsideration and signing into law seems high

Washington, D.C. – Following approval of the proposed energy bill by the U.S. Senate, the likelihood of the CAFE provisions in the bill emerging from reconsideration by the House and subsequent signing into law by President Bush seems high, according to a report by the Green Car Congress.

The bill will set an attribute-based combined car and light-duty truck new fleet average economy requirement of 35 mpg US (6.7 L/100 km) by 2010. The bill also begins the process of developing a fuel economy standard for medium- and heavy-duty on-road trucks.

Among the specific provisions of the bill are:

  • Separate fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks beginning in model-year 2011, and culminating in a combined average new fleet fuel economy of 35 mpg US by 2010. The standards are to be based on one or more vehicle attributes related to fuel economy, and expressed in the form of a mathematical function.
  • The new fuel fleet economy for model-year 2021 through 2030 is to be the “maximum feasible.”
  • Automakers must meet a minimum standard of 27.5 mpg US (8.7 L/100 km) or 92 per cent of the average fuel economy projected for the new fleet in a given model year, whichever is greater.

  • Fuel economy labels on new vehicles will also reflect greenhouse gas emissions.

The bill also requires a study by the National Academy of Sciences on the fuel efficiency of commercial medium- and heavy-duty on-road vehicles to determine appropriate test procedures and methodologies for measuring the fuel efficiency of such vehicles. Two years after the study’s completion, the Department of Transportation is to determine how to implement a fuel efficiency improvement program, including the adoption of fuel economy standards.

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