Alliance Urges House to Pass Energy Bill with Higher CAFE, Extension of Homeowner Energy-Efficiency Tax Incentives | Alliance to Save Energy

Alliance Urges House to Pass Energy Bill with Higher CAFE, Extension of Homeowner Energy-Efficiency Tax Incentives

Release Date: Thursday, December 6, 2007

Washington, D.C., December 5, 2007 – The Alliance to Save Energy today urged the U.S. House of Representatives to pass its energy bill that emphasizes energy efficiency by raising vehicle fuel economy standards and encouraging consumers to purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles; extending valuable federal income tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements; phasing out inefficient lighting products; and encouraging development of zero-emission commercial buildings.

“The nation urgently needs the House energy bill as a down payment on confronting climate change and providing relief to households who are facing home and vehicle energy bills totaling more than $5,000 this year,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “This bill takes greater strides to increase our nation’s energy efficiency than any other legislation in decades. While it does not include everything that energy-efficiency advocates would want, it includes many needed, credible steps.”

Callahan also called on the Senate to pass energy legislation expeditiously so that a bill can be sent to the president for signature as soon as possible.

The bill would increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards from the current average of about 25 miles per gallon for passenger cars, light trucks, and SUVs to 35 mpg by 2020. This would save American families up to $1,000 a year in gasoline costs, for a total of $22 billion in net consumer savings in 2020. It also would reduce U.S. oil consumption by 1.1 million barrels per day in 2020 – half of what we currently import from the Persian Gulf – and cut greenhouse gases (GHG) equivalent to taking 28 million of today’s cars and trucks off the road.

“We applaud members of the House for making a severely overdue increase in the fuel economy of all passenger vehicles and for including a new tax credit for consumers who purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles,” Callahan said. “If we are to tackle climate change, high energy prices, and energy supply issues, innovative technologies such as plug-in hybrids must be part of the mix. We commend the House for understanding that there is a federal role in helping new technologies succeed in the marketplace.

The bill also would extend for one year the current federal income tax credits for homeowners who make specific energy-efficient home improvements. Details in English and Spanish on those tax credits, which will otherwise expire on December 31, are at www.ase.org/taxcredits.

In addition to the CAFE increase and the existing home and plug-in hybrid tax credits, the Alliance worked to have the following energy-efficiency provisions included in the House bill and urges their adoption:

  • Lighting standards that would result in the phase-out of today’s 40-, 60-, 75- and 100-watt incandescent bulbs from January 2012 to January 2014, and their replacement by more efficient standard and halogen incandescents, compact fluorescents, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that produce the equivalent amount of light.
  • A Commercial Building Initiative (CBI) authorizing research, development, and deployment of new commercial buildings that would use energy efficiency and clean energy sources to produce zero GHG. If fully funded, this could result in savings of 5 quadrillion btu in 2020, about 5 percent of all energy use and 25 percent of commercial building energy use. The Alliance emphasized that full funding of the CBI by separate appropriations legislation is essential.
  • Increased energy-efficiency in federal buildings; new efficiency standards for appliances including dishwashers, clothes washers, refrigerators, and freezers; and permanent authorization of Energy Savings Performance Contracts, an innovative financing tool for upgrading the energy efficiency of federal buildings.
  • A five-year extension of tax incentives for increased energy efficiency in commercial buildings; three years of incentives for manufacturers of certain energy-efficient appliances; and a new 10 percent tax credit for combined heat and power.

“This bill demonstrates House members’ commitment to our nation’s energy security and the health of our environment with provisions that would help consumers and building owners make their properties more energy efficient and would encourage appliance manufacturers to make more energy-efficient products,” Callahan said.