Senate Democrats

The Democratic Energy Bill Will Promote Energy Independence, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Deliver Savings to American Consumers

On December 13, 2007, the Senate passed the EnergyIndependence and Security Act of 2007 by a vote of 86 to 8.  The Senate’s passage of the Democratic-sponsored Energy Bill will quickly move our country toward greater energy independence and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.  This fact sheet highlights the key provisions in the EnergyIndependence and Security Act of 2007.

Oil Dependence and National Security

Taking steps toward energy independence.  Energy independence will be one of the greatest economic and national security challenges faced by our nation in the 21st century.  Today, the United States consumes 21 million barrels of oil per day and imports 60 percent of that oil from overseas.  During the Bush-Cheney Administration, America’s use of oil has increased by more than one million barrels per day and our dependence on oil from overseas has grown by five percent.  The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 would take the following steps to reduce our nation’s dependence on oil and other unsustainable energy sources:

·        Increases the average fleet fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020.  By 2020, the new fuel economy standards are expected to save 1.1 million barrels of oil per day;

·        Expands the renewable fuels standard to 9 billions gallons in 2008 and progressively increase it to a 36 billion gallon requirement by 2022.  Additionally, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 makes a historic commitment to develop cellulosic ethanol by requiring that by 2022 the United States produce 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol.  Analysis from the Energy Information Administration estimates that the proposed increase in the renewable fuels standard would displace approximately 1 million barrels of oil per day by 2020;

·        Codifies the Administration’s stated goal of reducing petroleum usage by the federal government by 30 percent by 2015.  This is important because the U.S. government is the nation’s single largest energy user and in the Fiscal Year 2005 federal vehicles and equipment consumed almost the equivalent of 130 million barrels of oil.  A 30 percent reduction in petroleum usage would result in the savings of 39 million barrels of oil equivalent; and

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Addressing the threat of climate change.  Our national and environmental security are at risk due to global warming.  The Bush-Cheney Administration has failed to provide global leadership on climate change and since 2001 emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States have increased by 200 million metric tons.  The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 would take the following steps to begin to reduce our nation’s emission of greenhouse gases:

·        Increases the average fleet fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020.  By 2020, the standards are expected to remove 192 million metric tons of global warming pollution, a savings that will continue to increase in subsequent years.  That is the equivalent of taking approximately 28 million cars off the road;

·        Sets national efficiency standards for light bulbs.  The new standards represent the most important energy efficiency improvement in American history.  The first set of new standards will reduce emissions by about 13 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to approximately 24 new coal plants that each produce 500 megawatts of electricity.

·        Invests in carbon capture technology which “captures” or confines carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and sequesters them within the earth.  The research and investment in this technology is important because industry and government have limited experience in capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide generated during the combustion of fossil fuels to produce electric power.  The most notable plant with carbon capture technology is currently located is in North Dakota where 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are piped 200 miles into Saskatchewan where it is captured and sequestered

·        Expands the renewable fuels standard to nine billion gallons in 2008 and increases it to a 36 billion gallon requirement by 2022.  Additionally, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 makes a historic commitment to develop cellulosic ethanol by requiring that by 2022 the United States produce 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol.  This support for expanding ethanol, particularly cellulosic ethanol, is important because cellulosic ethanol can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent or more compared to regular gasoline.

Taxpayer Savings

Delivering savings to the American consumer.  As energy prices have risen, President Bush and his Republican allies in Congress have done little to address the squeeze that rising prices are placing on the American people.  During the Bush Administration, the price of oil has increased from $32 to over $90; gasoline prices have increased from $1.46 to about $3.00 per gallon; residential electricity prices have increased by about two cents per kilowatt hour; residential natural gas prices have risen approximately $4.00 per thousand cubic feet; and heating oil prices by almost $2.00 per gallon.  The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 would takes the following steps to deliver savings to the American people. 

·        Increases the average fleet fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020.  The increase will save an average family with two cars up to $1,000 each year in gasoline costs.  By 2020, the new standards are expected to save consumers $22 billion every year.

·        Sets national efficiency standards for light bulbs.  In the near-term, consumer savings from the new lighting standard are expected to total $6 billion per year.

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