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House approves energy bill

Despite a veto threat from the White House, the House passed an energy bill that increases the fuel-efficiency standards for the automobile standards and the use of renewable energy.

According to the New York Times, “The bill's supporters claim it will reduce the nation's dependence on imported oil, jump-start development of clean energy technologies and drastically reduce the nation's production of greenhouse gases.? When the bill reaches the Senate, however, the bill could be rewritten due to opposition to provisions concerning new taxes on the oil industry and requiring “electric utilities to generate 15 percent of their power from alternative sources." The White House has said it will veto the bill if it includes those provisions.

The House voted 235 to 181, with 14 Republicans for it and seven Democrats against it.

According to the bill, by the year 2020 vehicles must average 35 miles per gallon and “15 percent of the electricity generated by the nation's utilities would have to come from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, as well as biomass,? according to the Washington Post.

The New York Times reports that this is “the first significant increase in mileage standards since 1975,? and the Washington Post writes that the new standard for mileage is “a 40 percent increase over the current requirement.?

The bill also gives tax incentives for ethanol motor fuel use. Appliance and light bulb standards would also be affected by the measure; if passed, the bill would phase out Thomas Edison's incandescent light bulb.