15 May 2007 - 11:55
  • News Code: 104698

WASHINGTON, DC-- US President George W. Bush ordered federal agencies to implement proposals to increase motor fuel efficiency and develop motor fuel alternatives more quickly.

The May 14 executive order uses the plan to cut US gasoline consumption by 20% in 10 years, which Bush announced in his 2007 State of the Union address on Jan. 23, as a starting point. It directs the Environmental Protection Agency and the Departments of Energy, Agriculture and Transportation to coordinate efforts and complete their work by the end of 2008.


"I"ve also asked them to listen to public input; to carefully consider safety, science, and available technologies; and [to] evaluate the benefits and costs before they put forth the new regulations," Bush said.


The proposals separately mandate that the equivalent of 35 billion gal of renewable and other alternative motor fuels produced domestically reach 35 billion gal/year by 2017, and that Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency standards be increased for cars and light trucks.


Bush noted that the US Supreme Court ruled last month that EPA must take action under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from motor vehicles. "The steps I announced today are not a substitute for effective legislation so members of my cabinet, as they begin the process toward new regulations, will work with the White House to work with Congress to pass the 20-in-10 bill," he said.


Congressional reactions

Several members of Congress reacted immediately to the president"s announcement. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) said the order essentially mandates federal agencies to work together, but lacks real specifics. "The absence of any standards in today"s announcement is a reason why Americans will be looking to Congress for stronger leadership on energy policy," he said.


Pete V. Domenici (R-NM), the committee"s chief minority member, said Congress should work with the administration to reach the goals Bush listed, but added that the country also "must continue to engage China, India, and other developing nations to reduce carbon emissions." He said, "Only a truly global effort with shared sacrifices will have a meaningful impact on improving the world"s climate."


Rep. John E. Peterson (R-Pa.) said while he agreed with Bush that federal funds need to be directed to developing alternative fuels and increase motor vehicles" mileage per gallon, "this administration continues to disregard the fact that if 85% of our outer continental shelf remains off limits for natural gas exploration due to presidential and congressional moratoria, we will undoubtedly become a second-grade nation."


The American Petroleum Institute also issued a statement following Bush"s announcement, noting that it was pleased that the administration "has decided to undertake a full rulemaking and comment approach that recognizes the technological challenges and significant infrastructure hurdles that must be resolved to significantly increase renewable and alternative fuels in the nation"s fuel mix."


API said Bush"s plan calls to increase the use of motor fuel alternatives to 35 billion gal/year by 2017. Ethanol has a role, but it will be limited until significant technology breakthroughs permit ethanol"s economic production of biomass, API said, adding, "The timing of such breakthroughs is highly speculative."



News Code 104698

Your Comment

You are replying to: .
2 + 1 =