The House today approved a wide-ranging energy bill that calls for better fuel economy in US vehicles, the first such measure in more than 30 years. The bill, which has the grudging support of automakers, mandates a 40% improvement for most vehicles to an average of 35 mpg by 2020. The fuel standard is expected to survive as the bill winds through the Senate, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The bill "is a signal to the rest of the world that we are serious about global warming," said one Democratic lawmaker. President Bush threatened to veto the overall bill because it repeals tax breaks for the oil industry and requires utilities to generate more power through alternative energy. Republicans will likely rewrite many of the bill's provisions, but the new fuel standards appear safe.