An agreement among congressional Democrats – including those from auto industry states – to support a 40 percent increase in vehicle fuel efficiency is likely to be the tonic needed to push energy legislation through Congress before Christmas. Finally a step in the right direction. You would think we would have been working for that years ago. The oil embargo of the 70′s taught us nothing it seems. Many of you know nothing about the long lines for gas, if they even had any to sell. The odd and even day. Your tag number indicated which days you could even buy gasoline, once again if there was any to be bought.

Brazil embarked upon a lofty plan of using excess sugar from their immense crops of sugar cane to create ethanol for fuel in their vehicles and required all stations to carry it. Now they only import about 10 – 15% of their energy needs as oil. Most of it is ethanol raised and manufactured in Brazil. If only we had been so foresighted. But politics in the US is not for the good of the nation but for the good of special interest groups and who donates the most to an election campaign. Sometimes I wonder exactly how much does one vote cost?

This energy bill does not only contain the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) issue but will require non public utilities to produce 15% of their power from renewable energy sources. This is definitely a step in the right direction. We have so many coal fired power plants across the US sending pollution into our airs. And it is cheaper for them to continue to do so and just risk the chance of an EPA fine that may or may not ever come.There is also a provision that says the amount of ethanol required to be used as motor fuel will have a 7 fold increase from todays use up to 36 billion gallons in 2022.

The compromise quickly received the endorsement of senators who have long opposed increased fuel economy legislation. Hopefully this will pass both houses and be signed into law soon. It is not enough but it is surely a step in the right direction. Something that is sorely needed.

Leave a Reply