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Energy Bill Clears Senate

The bill includes boosts for biofuels and a gradual fuel economy standard increase.

The Senate passed the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007 Thursday night, by a vote of 65 to 27. The bill bumps the current 7.5 billion gallon renewable fuels standard up to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

The bill also funds:

  • Studies on the feasibility of ethanol pipelines, higher blend levels and the optimization of flex fuel vehicles;
  • A 20 percent greenhouse gas reduction standard for conventional biofuels that allows existing plants to be grandfathered in to the law;
  • Establishment of a 50% GHG reduction standard for advanced biofuels;
  • Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for automobiles to increase to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, as part of a compromise reached Thursday;
  • Establishes a goal of increasing the nation's flexible fuel vehicle fleet by 50%; and
  • Studies relating to the impacts of expansion of biofuels production on various industrial sectors, as well as an environmental impact study.

The bill now heads to the House, which has not indicated when it will begin working on it.

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