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    Bill Introduced to Reduce Gas Consumption by 500 Billion Gallons

    Instead of one increase in fuel economy standards, bill introduces annual re-evaluation of standards.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Legislation has been introduced to the House that is estimated to reduce U.S. gas consumption by 549 billion gallons by 2028, and in turn, reduce foreign dependency on oil, reported FarmFutures.com.

    The Fuel Economy Reform Act of 2006 takes a more flexible approach to fuel economy standards. In it, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be responsible for making annual increases in fuel economy standards, with a goal of one mile per gallon for vehicles each year, the Web site reported. The standards will be based on vehicles size and weight.

    Flexibility is given to domestic automakers by providing different standards for different models of cars under the bill. According to the report, current standards make automakers match the same standards for the entire brand's offerings.

    The NHTSA will also have the ability revise annual increases if the goal can not be reached with the current technology in place, if the safety of vehicles can be compromised, or if an increase in standards would not be cost-efficient when compared to economical and political value of one gallon of gas saved.

    This legislation changes the debate on "if" the fuel economy standards will be raised, to "when," the report stated.

    According to FarmFutures.com, the 4 percent per year reduction, if maintained for 20 years, would reduce consumption by 549 billion gallons of gasoline. With gas prices averaging $3 a gallon, this would mean $1.64 trillion savings to consumers in the 20 years.

    The bill also provides tax incentives for auto manufacturers to change out existing parts and assembly plants in order to make more fuel-efficient vehicles. The report stated that this will allow domestic automakers to compete on the same levels as foreign hybrids and other flex-fuel vehicles.

    "If it was not clear before, it is now. Domestic energy policy is at the center of our foreign policy," U.S. Senator Joseph Biden told FarmFutures.com. "For our national security we have to begin the transition to alternative fuels. We can't do that without making progress on fuel economy by upgrading to a better system that combines protection for U.S. automobile manufacturing jobs with predictable increases in fuel efficiency standards for cars, SUVs and light trucks."

    The bill also gives tax credits to American consumers who buy a fuel-efficient vehicle, regardless of the current legislation that provides only 60,000 buyers per manufacturer per year with tax credits, the Web site stated.

    The bill was introduced by U.S. Senators Barack Obama, Richard G. Lugar, Joseph Biden, Gordon Smith, Jeff Bingaman, Tom Harkin, Norm Coleman, and Dick Durbin.

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