Once the Senate removed a big $21.8 billion tax package that Democrats had hoped would be included in our nation's new energy bill, the bill itself began sailing through the halls of Congress. After finally being passed by the Senate on the third try, the bill returned to the House of Representatives, which has to revote on it since the Senate had trimmed a little here and added a little there. The core of the bill, an increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to 35 mpg by 2020, has remained and the House overhwhelmingly passed the revised bill today by a vote of 314 - 100. Thus, we can now officially say that the United States Congress has approved the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. You'll know doubt hear politicians crooning about its historical significance on the news networks tonight, and truth be told, it is a big deal and will force automakers to apply every bit of ingenuity they have to meet the new CAFE standards in time while providing consumers with cars and trucks that they actually want to buy.

The bill will now be delivered to President Bush who has said he will sign it into law tomorrow. Ladies and gentleman, drink up, we have a new energy bill.

UPDATE: Ford and Chrysler's official responses to the new energy bill added after the jump.

[Source: Associated Press, Reuters]

PRESS RELEASE:

FORD COMMENT ON CONGRESSIONAL PASSAGE OF NEW CAFE STANDARDS AND THE ENERGY BILL

The following is a statement from Ford Motor Company on the final passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 by Congress:

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 18, 2007 -- "Ford has worked with lawmakers to enact nationwide requirements that provide a significant increase in fuel economy while protecting consumers' choices of cars, SUVs and light trucks. We are working to do our part to help reduce greenhouse gases and U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

This legislation will provide one clear requirement for increasing fuel economy and provide greater certainty for our product planning. Ford is committed to providing safer, more fuel efficient, quality products – in high volume – that customers want and value."


Statement from Robert Nardelli, Chairman and CEO, Chrysler LLC, Regarding New, Nationwide U.S. Fuel Economy Standards:

"We commend the Congress for passing an energy bill today and we fully support it being signed into law. Chrysler is committed to meeting the fuel economy standards of the bill and doing our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our country's reliance on foreign oil. We continue to devote significant resources to develop quality, fuel efficient products that our customers expect. This year alone, we offer six vehicles that get 28 miles per gallon or better, and more are on the way."

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