April 19, 2007

U.S. Senators introduce legislation to reduce fossil fuel use

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici of New Mexico have introduced legislation to reduce the nation’s use of fossil fuels by improving efficiency in vehicles, buildings, home appliances and industrial equipment. Bingaman and Domenici are, respectively, chairman and ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Among its points, the legislation, called the Energy Efficiency Promotion Act, includes a national goal of reducing gasoline usage by 20 per cent by 2017, 35 per cent by 2025, and 45 per cent by 2030, and authorizes a nationwide media campaign to increase energy efficiencies.

The legislation calls for state fleets of civilian vehicles to reduce petroleum consumption by 30 per cent by 2016, and for a 30 per cent reduction in energy consumption in existing federal buildings by 2015, with a requirement of new and renovated federal buildings to meet standards for reducing fossil fuel consumption.

The bill also authorizes US$60 million for the Department of Energy to research and develop lightweight materials for the construction of vehicles; amends the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to authorize the Secretary of Energy to issue loan guarantees for facilities for the manufacture of parts for fuel-efficient vehicles; and authorizes US$500 million over ten years for basic research for batteries, US$800 million to transition the basic research to first-of-a-kind batteries for automobile and electric utility industries, and US$1 billion over ten years for four centres to work with the industries to develop advanced manufacturing technologies for batteries to be globally competitive. Currently, China, Japan and Korea dominate the automobile battery market.

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