The Democrats' energy bill is under attack on two fronts in the Senate—automakers want to weaken fuel efficiency standards, and the coal industry is looking for tax breaks for making diesel. The Wall Street Journal predicts a ferocious floor fight over the proposed package that would set a 45 mpg standard for cars by 2005.
Detroit calls the proposal wildly extreme, and claims it puts 13.3 million American jobs at risk. The sponsors of the bill counter that the big automakers already make more fuel efficient cars in the European and Asian markets. Meanwhile, the coal industry's proposal for making clean diesel is opposed by environmental groups.