Listen to me on KTRS/St. Louis every Friday, 3-6pm CT

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Energy Bill, Ethanol, and You

Congress overwhelmingly passed the new energy bill, and President Bush signed it this morning -- but is it good for you?

Today I talked it over with Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at Public Citizen. He's happy to see fuel economy standards raised, but wonders why they weren't made higher with shorter deadlines. He also explained the downsides of the bill, from the continuing subsidies for oil companies to the lack of support for solar and wind energy development. With the mandates for increasing the use of ethanol six-fold, we discussed who is really going to benefit and whether that alternative fuel source will be a net negative because of the increase in costs for food and other products, not to mention that ethanol-based fuel is less energy-efficient than oil-based fuel, so you'll have to use more of it, thus increasing your costs even more.

The bottom line question is this: how great can the energy bill be for us if the big automakers and oil companies are happy with it?