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Page added on November 29, 2007

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Negotiators Close In on Energy Measure

Congressional negotiators are nearing agreement on the components of an energy bill that would boost fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and require vast increases in the use of biofuels, according to congressional aides and lobbyists.

The auto industry and its champion, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), have accepted the target of achieving an average of 35 miles a gallon for each carmaker’s fleet of new U.S. vehicles by 2020, set in the version of the bill passed by the Senate in June. However, Dingell and the automakers appeared to have won concessions extending fuel efficiency credits for flexible-fuel vehicles and creating separate mileage standards for cars and light trucks.

Yesterday, Dingell was still weighing the details of a compromise Senate proposal and pressing for further concessions. He was scheduled to talk by phone late yesterday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Aides and lobbyists who agreed to discuss the negotiations spoke on condition of anonymity because the two leaders had not yet conferred.

Efforts to pass energy legislation have been dragging on all year. But there was pressure to complete an agreement by yesterday or today because congressional leaders want to bring the bill to a vote when members return from recess next week, and a few days are needed to hammer out the exact language. Moreover, with oil prices at more than $90 a barrel, many lawmakers feel compelled to take some sort of action on energy.

Washington Post

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