Fuel fight continues in Washington, DC

| 4/28/2006

As fuel prices remained high across the country on Friday, April 28, so did tension about exactly what to do about them.

In Washington, DC, President Bush called for several initiatives aimed at stemming rising prices while the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted along party lines to kill a bill that would have taxed oil companies.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Bush called on Congress to give him the authority to raise fuel-efficiency requirements for passenger cars.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-MD, offered to give Bush the authority as part of a new energy bill being considered by the Senate. The bill already calls for a repeal of tax breaks previously given to oil companies and for a $100 tax rebate for all taxpayers.

Bush did not specify how high he would raise the fuel economy standard for passenger cars. It is currently 27.5 miles per gallon.

However, the Senate bill is already having a tough time in the House. A vote Thursday, April 27, resulted in the House rejecting the Senate’s proposal to increase taxes for the oil companies.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-IA, told The Associated Press that, in spite of the vote, the Senate proposals are still on the table.

Meanwhile, The AP reported that Bush has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to give gasoline requirement waivers to states experiencing spot shortages of fuel as a result of the changeover from gasoline with the MTBE additive to ethanol, which is required this year.

No mention has been made of diesel, which begins the switch to ultra low-sulfur diesel at the refinery level on June 1.