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Energy Bill Targets High Gas and Heating Costs

November 13, 2007

Minneapolis, MN – Minnesotans are being warned that the price of heating a home could go through the roof this winter, and the cost of filling a gas tank also is more likely to go north rather than south. However, some plans pending in Congress could help ease both budget-busting situations. Christopher Cox, Minnesota's representative for the National Environmental Trust says one provision would let motorists drive farther, for less.

"Thirty-five miles per gallon by 2020 is the goal, and it is fully achievable with technology that's already on the shelf."

While that could save drivers big bucks at the fuel pump, Cox says it also would help stop global warming by reducing fossil fuel use. The bill sets additional standards to increase energy use from renewable sources.

The U.S. House and Senate have passed different bills: one includes the renewable energy standards, the other the fuel efficiency requirement. Cox explains either would advance the nation's level of energy independence, as well as providing a high-energy boost for the U.S. economy.

"A fuel economy boost would create 240,000 jobs in the U.S., 3,200 right here in Minnesota. It means we're going to be saving money with our home heating bills and electrical bills if we get a renewable energy standard in there, too. It's nothing but good news for the economy if we get a good energy bill passed."

A conference committee in Congress is expected to work out the differences, perhaps as early as Thanksgiving. Cox says the legislation would have the added benefit of strengthening national security.

"I don't think we would be involved in some of the situations we're involved in in the Middle East if we were not so dependent on foreign oil. The implication here is that, if we were less dependent on foreign oil, we simply would be safer. There would be less reason for us to be involved in countries that are, politically, getting more and more unstable."

Cox believes that, next to the Iraq war, energy policy is the most critical issue the nation faces. Learn more about the proposed fuel efficiency and renewable energy standards online, at

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN