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    Congress Approves Energy Bill

    Calls for an increase in the fuel efficiency of vehicles, heads for the president's desk.

    WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives approved an energy bill yesterday, by a vote of 314 to 100, Reuters reported. The bill calls for an increase in the fuel efficiency of U.S. cars and trucks -- the first time since 1975 -- as well as a boost in the production of renewable motor fuels, such as ethanol, and more efficient light bulbs and appliances, according to the report.

    The Senate already passed the same bill last week, and President Bush is expected to sign the measure into law today, the White House told Reuters.

    To pass the legislation, Democratic congressional leaders dropped provisions from the bill that would have imposed approximately $13 billion in taxes on Big Oil and gas companies, and requirements for utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, the report stated.

    The bill will raise the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks by 40 percent, to an average 35 miles per gallon by 2020, which is expected to cut U.S. oil demand by two million barrels a day in 2030 -- an 8 percent drop from the 25 million barrels a day of oil consumption the Energy Department forecasts for that time, Reuters reported.

    In addition, the bill will increase annual production of renewable motor fuels, including ethanol, to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

    With the passage of the bill, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) praised the House.

    "I applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for taking action on this energy bill and including the critically important Renewable Fuels Standard that will increase America's energy security through the expanded production and consumption of ethanol," Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE, said in a statement. "Congress' bipartisan spirit has made energy progress possible for the good of all Americans who deserve better, more cost-effective choices at the pump than expensive, imported oil and gasoline."

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