Alliance Urges Swift House, White House Approval of Senate Energy Bill as ‘Christmas Present’ for U.S. Consumers
Washington, D.C., December 13, 2007 – The Alliance to Save Energy today urged members of the U.S. House of Representatives to approve swiftly the pared-down energy bill expected to be passed by the Senate and send the legislation to the White House for presidential signature. The Alliance emphasized the energy-efficiency content of the bill, which raises vehicle fuel economy standards, phases out inefficient lighting products and improves the efficiency of other home appliances, encourages the development of commercial buildings that produce as much energy as they use, and reduces energy use by the federal government.
“The energy bill which we expect the Senate to adopt today, despite the deletion of the renewable electricity standard and other provisions supported by the Alliance, still represents the most significant energy-saving legislation this country has enjoyed in the last three decades and is a necessary down payment on actions needed to address global warming,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan.
Callahan also called upon the president to sign the legislation once it has cleared both the House and the Senate. “The White House should not be the ‘Energy Grinch’ by denying the American people the significant benefits of a bill that will help provide consumers with relief from spiraling energy costs,” she said.
The pending Senate 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 gas emissions equivalent to taking 28 million of today’s cars off the road.
In addition to the CAFE increase, the Alliance cited the following energy-savings benefits contained in the Senate legislation:
- 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;
- Authorization of a Commercial Building Initiative (CBI) combining research, development, and deployment of new commercial buildings that would use energy efficiency and clean energy sources to produce zero greenhouse gas emissions. 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;
- New efficiency standards (in the bill or to be set by the Department of Energy) for many appliances, including dishwashers, clothes washers, refrigerators, and freezers; and
- Increased energy efficiency in federal buildings, including permanent authorization of Energy Savings Performance Contracts, an innovative financing tool for upgrading the energy efficiency of federal buildings.
“The Senate will offer an energy-efficiency Christmas present for the American people, bringing us to a point where enactment of the most meaningful energy-efficiency legislation in decades is close to becoming a reality,” Callahan said. “The Alliance strongly urges members of the House promptly to approve the bill once it is passed by the Senate and get it to the president’s desk, where we hope and expect that he will sign it.”