Two Reviews of the Senate Energy Bill

By June 22, 2007Energy

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell:

“This is really an anti-energy bill. It does nothing to bring down high gas prices; in fact, it would actually increase prices at the pump. It does nothing to increase domestic oil and gas production to make us less dependent on foreign oil. It fails to promote one of the most promising new technologies to make America more energy independent: coal-to-liquid fuels. And it threatens the jobs of thousands of auto workers in Kentucky and across the country.

“Although the Senate did not make the bill worse by approving the massive tax increases proposed earlier this week, this bill remains a missed opportunity. Senate Republicans will continue working to address the energy issue of greatest concern to the American people: high gas prices.”

Iain Murry of the Competitive Enterprise Institute:

In a disastrous move, the Senate passed the bill to make energy and just about everything else less affordable last night, 65-27. It avoided the worst proposed excesses, the $28 billion tax hike and an increased mandate for expensive, inefficient renewable power, but includes a 36 billion gallons mandate for miracle fuels that don’t exist yet, new efficiency standards for appliances, etc., much higher CAFÉ standards but no automatic increases after 2020, and criminalizes “unconscionably excessive” gasoline prices. The result will be much higher prices for gasoline, appliances and less-safe autos, but not (for now) for electricity.

Because the Senate put its bill into the “Hundred Hours” House bill, HR6, the House could now take a vote on the Senate bill and send it to the President, or vote to modify it, take a vote on it, and send it back to the Senate, or they could ask for a conference committee to rewrite the bill. However, given that the President has promised a veto of any bill containing price gouging measures, I suspect the House Republicans might be less than inclined to fight for their constituents’ access to safe cars, effective appliances and affordable energy. (Or food. Or even soap.)

UPDATE (1:10 p.m.): And Popular Mechanics considers new CAFE standards:

There’s no question that Detroit can build cars and trucks that meet the new CAFÉ standard. And Congress is determined to make them do it. But has anybody calculated the costs? Raising fleet standards to these levels would add thousands of dollars to the cost of the average vehicle—carbon fiber and polycarbonate don’t come cheap, folks! We appreciate Congress’s effort to grapple with this issue, and automakers need to respond. But raising CAFE standards is a pretty blunt instrument to encourage complex technological change. We suspect that consumers—and voters—may experience something like sticker shock when they realize they’re the ones paying the bill.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds.

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