The American Jewish Committee applauds the U.S. Senate for passing an historic energy bill (H.R.6) by an overwhelming 86-8 vote, and commends President Bush for his announced intention to sign the bill into law if it is adopted by the House of Representatives next week.
This bill will enable Americans in the next decade to drive more efficient vehicles, while fueling them with blends of clean and alternative fuels.
“America is waking up to the energy security challenge,” said AJC Executive Director David A. Harris. AJC has advocated for energy independence since the early 1970s. “Our political leadership, thankfully, is realizing that U.S. dependence on oil from hostile countries endangers national security. While much more needs to be done, this historic bill represents a crucial shift from talk to action.”
The energy bill includes critically important provisions that will increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for the first time in more than two decades, as well as a mandate for production of renewable fuels. Once enacted, these provisions will require that, by 2020, all passenger cars and light trucks increase efficiency by roughly 40 percent, to 35 miles-per-gallon. This measure will save the United States an estimated 1.1 million barrels of oil per day by 2020 — approximately half of what the U.S. currently imports from the Persian Gulf.
This bill will also promote homegrown alternative fuels, requiring 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be produced by 2022, with an emphasis on clean and renewable cellulosic ethanol; invest in efficient vehicle technologies; raise energy efficiency by setting standards for buildings, appliances and the electricity grid; and encourage “green jobs” that will be necessary for the emerging sustainable economy.