Bush signs Energy Bill stripped of renewable energy package

United States President George W. Bush signed into law an energy bill aimed at cutting United States dependency on foreign oil by setting tough mandates for automakers, renewable fuels generators and appliance manufacturers.

The new legislation mandates increased vehicle fuel economy in United States vehicles. Manufacturers must boost automobile fuel economy by 40 percent to an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. This is the first increase in the federal vehicle standard for autos in 32 years.

The law also raised yearly renewable motor fuel production to 36 billion gallons by 2022 and requires more ethanol in the next decade be made from non-food sources like wood chips, switchgrass and other wastes.

The bill also requires efficiency standards for lighting and appliances. The incandescent light bulb will be phased out by 2020 to cut light bulb electricity use by 60 percent. Appliances, such as dishwashers, refrigerators and washers must reduce their energy useage.

The tax provision portion of the bill was cut in the Senate. Under the original $21 billion tax package, $13.5 billion in tax breaks for large oil companies were to have been repealed in order to be used as tax incentives to promote renewable fuel and energy efficiencies.

President Bush had indicated he would veto the energy bill as it was originally presented.