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(KSL News and Associated Press reporting)
The House approved the first increase in federal automobile fuel efficiency requirements in three decades Thursday as part of an energy bill that also repeals billions of dollars in oil company tax breaks and encourages the use of renewable fuels.
The centerpiece of the bill is a requirement to boost automobile fuel economy by 40 percent to an industry average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, the first such increase since 1975, when Congress enacted the federal auto fuel economy requirements.
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino called the House-passed bill "misguided" and unacceptable. "Their proposal would raise taxes and increase energy prices for Americans. That is a misguided approach and if it made it to the president's desk, he would veto it," she said.
Congressman Jim Matheson says passage of the energy bill will lead to savings at the gas pump for Utahns.
Matheson is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and contributed to sections of the bill.
He says increasing fuel efficiency standards in our vehicles will save Utah families between $700 and $1,000 a year at the pump by the year 2020.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story. Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)