Sunday, January 14, 2007

Stevens' bill boosts fuel efficiency

Associated Press

Alaska U.S. Senator Ted Stevens has introduced legislation to increase fuel efficiency standards to "40 miles per gallon by 2017, if not sooner." He says, "The savings achieved by increasing fuel economy standards for the entire U.S. passenger vehicle fleet is essential if we are to become independent of foreign oil."

While this may sound like a proposal from environmental groups or even some Democrats, the bill from the Alaska Republican doesn't mandate specific increases in vehicle efficiency. Rather, he would direct the administration to develop the standards under a number of conditions.

The new rules would have to pass a cost-benefit test. The government also would have to consider the effects of fuel standards on safety and emissions.

The bill also would block the government from requiring a manufacturer to achieve an overall percentage increase in the efficiency of their vehicles. That responds for concerns long expressed by automakers.

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