President Signs Bill Boosting Auto Fuel Economy Requirement

WASHINGTON D.C. — Calling it a major step toward energy independence, President Bush has signed legislation that will bring more fuel-efficient vehicles into showrooms.

The president signed the bill at a ceremony at the Energy Department Wednesday morning.

The legislation requires automakers to increase fuel efficiency by 40 percent to an industry average 35 miles per gallon by 2020. It also ramps up production of ethanol to 36 billion gallons a year by 2022.

Bush says the new requirements will help reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil by reducing demand for gasoline and diversifying the nation’s fuel supply.

The House overwhelmingly passed the energy bill Tuesday after the Senate cleared it last week. The original legislation included $21 billion in taxes, which were dropped to get the bill approved.