House Energy Bill Fails to Advance Energy Efficiency in Battle to Lower Record Gas, Oil Prices, Says Alliance to Save Energy

Release Date: Thursday, April 21, 2005

Washington, D.C., April 21, 2005 – “As record oil and gas prices fuel inflation, curb consumer spending, and rock financial markets, the House remarkably has adopted legislation that does almost nothing to lower energy demand, a principal cause of today’s skyrocketing energy costs,” Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan said today. She added, “The House has largely ignored the most immediate, cheapest, and cleanest means available to our nation – energy efficiency – to stem the tide of rising energy prices. Particularly alarming is that this bill does nothing to reduce oil use, including in the crucial transportation sector, which accounts for two-thirds of U.S. oil consumption.”

The House-passed energy bill, HR 6, deleted the majority of important energy-efficiency incentives and policies included in the energy bill conference report in the last Congress. Gone are tax incentives to encourage efficiency upgrades to commercial buildings, new homes, and consumer purchases of highly-efficient cars and appliances. The House bill also curtails the important federal program that provides private financing for efficiency improvements in federal government facilities. “Of the $8 billion in House-passed tax incentives, only about $500 million – a paltry 6 percent – promote energy efficiency, with the rest supporting supply-side measures and policies. Consumers reeling from the ‘extra tax’ of high energy prices need and deserve much more from their national policy makers,” Callahan said.

“With the government’s own Energy Information Administration predicting average $2.28-a-gallon gasoline this summer, and many other analysts expecting significantly higher prices, we need a national energy policy that utilizes the full potential of energy efficiency to extend our nation’s energy supplies, moderate rising energy prices, and reduce dependence on foreign oil,” Callahan added.

“It is now up to the Senate to protect the nation’s economic and energy security by restoring and expanding provisions to advance energy efficiency as it begins work on its version of national energy legislation. We call upon the Senate to craft a bill that includes significant upgrades to energy-efficiency standards for vehicles, appliances and equipment and a full array of market-friendly tax incentives to encourage use of energy-efficiency technologies,” Callahan said.