WASHINGTON (AP) -- Better mileage and more ethanol. Those are two aims of an energy bill approved by the Senate. The bill passed with strong bi-partisan support after Democrats dropped efforts to impose billions of dollars in new taxes on the
biggest oil companies. An effort to derail a Republican filibust against the new taxes failed by one vote.
The legislation now heads to the house, where passage is expected next week. Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky expects President Bush will sign the bill.
The legislation calls for the first major increase by Congress in required automobile fuel efficiency in 32 years, something the auto companies have fought for two decades. The industrywide average of 35 mile per gallon for cars, small trucks and SUVs must be met over the next 13 years. The measure would also increase the use of ethanol seven fold, to 36 billion gallons a year. Majority Leader Harry Reid says the bill will also begin to reverse the addiction to oil.