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American cars and light trucks may have to get more efficient

It's ony been thirty years since mileage standards were raised on passenger vehicles in the U.S.

It's ony been thirty years since mileage standards were raised on passenger vehicles in the U.S. but that's what Congress is now proposing to do. According to reports on a compromise energy bill, it appears the democtratic-led Congress will vote on a proposal for an average of 35 miles per gallon...by 2020. One controversial proposal has been dropped. There'll not be any new taxes on the oil industry. That idea had already drawn a veto threat from President George W.

According to the A.P. here's the crux of the proposed new law: the auto industry in the U.S. "must achieve 35 mpg average, counting all vehicles, by 2020, compared with the current requirement of 27.5 mpg fleet average for cars — a level that has not increased since 1989 — and 22 mpg for SUVs, passenger vans and pickups."

That means the U.S. will trail Eurpe and China only by 13 years in its fuel economy law. Here's what the "New York Times" reports: "European auto companies, for example, must average 40 miles per gallon and China requires a 35 m.p.g. standard. Automobiles sold in those countries are generally smaller and less powerful than the most popular models in the United States, however."

There are reports that the energy bill could also funnel billions of federal loan dollars to the nuclear power indsutry. That's not been confirmed by Congress.

Greentech firms should note: the bill calls for a 700% increase in the use of ethanol by 2020, and it sets a 15% minimum for utilities companies in use of renewable energy to generate electricity. If it becomes law it'll mean a huge boost for solar, wind, geothermal, corn growers and other renewable energy technologies.