First Increase in Automobile Fuel Economy Will Soon Be Law

The White House says tomorrow is the day President Bush will sign a bill approving the first increase in automobile fuel economy in more than 30 years.

A White House statement says Bush will sign the legislation at the Energy Department. The centerpiece of the bill is the requirement for automakers to increase their industrywide vehicle fuel efficiency by 40 percent to an industry average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

That compares to today's 25 mpg when including passenger cars as well as SUVs and small trucks. The bill -- which passed Congress by a wide margin -- also requires a six-fold increase in ethanol use to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022. And it requires new energy efficiency standards for an array of appliances, lighting and commercial and government