President to sign energy bill, including boost in auto fuel economy

CAPITOL HILL (AP) -- President Bush signs a major energy bill today.

The bill includes the first increase in auto fuel economy standards in 32 years. Automakers will have to increase the efficiency of their vehicles by 40 percent to an industry average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. That compares to today's 25 miles per gallon when including passenger cars as well as SUVs and small trucks.

The legislation passed both the House and Senate by wide margins. It 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 buildings.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls the bill "groundbreaking," saying "this is a choice between yesterday and tomorrow."

Bush will sign the legislation at the Energy Department.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)