Analysis: Combine Best of Federal Energy Bills

Analysis: Combine Best of Federal Energy Bills

Combining the best provisions of pending federal energy legislation could help the U.S. cut greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent in 2030, according to analysis from a non-profit working to advance energy efficiency.

"The sum of the two bills is much greater than either bill alone," said Steven Nadel, executive director of American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, which released its analysis Monday.

The organization urged the House of Representatives to adopt some of the Senate's more stringent provisions, such as setting goals to curb oil consumption. There are also some provisions, such as an incandescent lamp standard, not in the Senate package.

The analysis found the Senate bill would save consumers and businesses more than $500 billion between 2008 and 2030. The House package would save at least $300 billion for the same period.

The Senate bill provides the largest energy savings and emissions reduction through increased corporate average fuel economy standards and mandatory oil-savings targets, the analysis found.

By contrast, the largest savings in the House efficiency package comes boosting incandescent lamp efficiency standards and improving an existing program that updates national and state building codes.

The Senate bill calls for a combined average fuel economy standard of 35 miles per gallon for cars and trucks by 2020. Since additional targets would be set at the discretion of the Department of Transportation from 2021 through 2030, the actual oil savings possible under this policy is unclear.

The Senate bill also mandates that half of all new vehicles produced in 2015 must be alternative fuel vehicles, which include fuel cell vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, dedicated alternative fuel vehicles and flex-fuel vehicles.

The Senate bill sets the goal of saving an average of 2.5 million barrels per day of oil in 2016, 7 million barrels per day in 2026 and 10 million barrels per day in 2031. The last provision, however, lacks an enforcement mechanism. The House bill does not have provisions geared toward reducing oil consumption.

Both the Senate and House packages propose the creation of a new program to promote green building and the expansion of the federal appliance and equipment standards program. The analysis found, however, that the House's version of these provisions is more comprehensive.

ACEEE said the Senate package could increase savings if it extended and expanded some of the energy efficiency tax incentives developed by the Senate Finance Committee in 2005.