Congressional negotiators will now begin working on a compromise
version of the energy bill following the Senate’s approval Tuesday of its
version of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
The bill includes several measures that could affect truckers and the
trucking industry, including a provision that would have mandated better fuel
mileage for big trucks. Sen. Christopher Bond led the fight against that
Bond, R-MO, and Sen. Carl Levin, D-MI, opposed the mileage 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.
Under another 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
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