Yesterday evening the U.S. Senate passed the new Energy Bill on its third try. After narrowly failing to get the requisite 60 votes the first two times, the Energy Bill passed last night with an overwhelming vote of 86-8. The deal breaker for Senate Republicans was $21.8 billion in new tax provisions that were removed from the bill after the second vote. Those taxes would have paid for new incentives for those who purchase plug-in hybrids
. Also lost from the bill were new requirements for renewable energy from electric utilities. There were also a number of pork projects attached to the bill in order to garner additional support, and we'll be trying to track down what each of those are today.
Since this version of the Energy Bill is now different than the one earlier passed by the House of Representatives, it must go back to the House for a revote, where it's expected to pass easily. The White House, meanwhile, has flipped and said it will pass this version of the bill once it's approved by the House. Again, the core nugget of legislation in the bill concerning automakers is a rise in the nation's Corporate Average Fuel Economy to 35 mpg by 2020, and that remains. This means that in short order we will see the first change to CAFE standards since the mid-'80s.