President Bush will be addressing his first State of the Union to a Democratic-controlled Congress in about a half hour. At that time, many people in the country will be in a bad mood because their favorite TV show on Tuesday night was just preempted. Many will change the channel to watch something on cable, but some will stay to watch the president speak, and energy is one topic that will surely be discussed.
We already know what he's going to talk about because Joel Kaplan, the White House deputy chief of staff (that would be Josh Lyman's position) told us today. The big, bold move Bush will make on energy tonight will be to call for Americans to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent by 2017. A fine idea for sure, though the new Congress will disagree with President Bush on how to achieve the goal.
The administration basically has a two-pronged strategy. The first is a new mandate proposing we increase the amount of alternative fuels blended into the national fuel supply to 35 billion gallons by 2017. These fuels would now also include biodiesel, methanol, butanol and hydrogen, in addition the politically popular ethanol. The second strategy is to further revise Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards by applying the same revisions to mileage standards used recently on trucks to passenger vehicles. This is where the President and the new Democratic-controlled congress will likely butt heads the most. The Dems simply want to raise CAFE standards for passenger vehicles from the current 27.5 miles per gallon, while the administration's sliding scale applies different standards based on a vehicle's footprint or size. It's all very technical and boring, which is what we imagine the SOTU address will be tonight, but we'll watch anyways 'cause the Commander in Chief's gonna talk about cars, and we're always up for some car talk.
Feel free to post your thoughts on the SOTU in the comments, but keep it civil or we'll have to turn the comments off on this post. Thanks.