The U.S. Senate is
scheduled to vote on the final passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 on
Tuesday, June 28.
The bill carries
with it a number of acts and amendments that could affect truckers and the
trucking industry, including a provision that would have mandated better fuel
mileage for big trucks.
Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-MO, and Sen. Carl Levin, D-MI, led the opposition to that
amendment, which would have increased non-passenger vehicle fuel economy by 6.5
miles per gallon during the next 11 years and 12.5 miles per gallon for
four-wheelers in the same period of time. In its stead, the two senators
proposed and passed an amendment that keeps auto standards under the authority
of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The energy bill also
includes a provision that will increase the length of daylight-saving time
across the country.
Daylight-saving time currently begins at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of April
and ends at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. The amendment would push the
beginning date back to the first Sunday of March and the ending date forward to
last Sunday of November.
amendment, owner-operators and fleet owners could receive economic
incentives to replace their older trucks, or retrofit them to meet current
emissions standards. The amendment would provide up to $1 billion in funding
for the project.
A related amendment,
known as the Smith-Gordon Amendment, was shot down in the Senate. The amendment
would have given a 5 percent tax discount toward the purchase of a 2007-model
diesel engine, in an effort to meet emissions standards.
If the bill passes
in the senate on Tuesday, it will then go before a joint House and Senate
Conference Committee, which is expected to meet this summer, according to media
reports. Congress has not approved a comprehensive energy bill for five years.
– By Aaron
Ladage, staff writer