energy conservation

energy bills 2005

Bill in Brief

In July, 2005 Congress passed an energy bill with the aim of raising energy supplies at home, lowering energy costs, improving electricity grid reliability and encouraging fuel efficiency. The president signed the bill into law in August.

After Katrina, Congress went through another round of energy hand wringing and sent a second energy bill through the House. That bill is now stopped in the Senate.

energy overview


Energy is, of course, what keeps America - and the rest of the world - running. It's also the source of political debate all the way from drilling in Alaska to windfarming in Massachusetts.

To dive into the nitty gritty of those debates, also see our our fossil fuel, alternative energy and nuclear power pages.

But first, the lay of the energy fields...

where our energy comes from - and what it's used for

Note: the thickness of the lines show how much of each energy source goes toward what use - for example 100% of nuclear energy goes to creating electricity. sources: EIA and EIA (pdf)

How much energy we're using:

  • 100 Quadrillion Btu total (EIA);

energy bills 2006

Bills in Brief

With soaring summer gas prices (which later mellowed) putting the spotlight back on energy, Congress got in the political mood for some energy saving action in 2006

Both the Senate and House tossed around new and rehashed ideas for short term fixes and long term solutions to spiking gas prices. But although the House trickled out a steady flow of mini energy bills, the only measure that ended up passing was one opening up 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil drilling.

energy bills 2007

Bills in Brief

With a Democratic Congress in charge, 2007 at first looked like it would see a host of energy bills to rev up alternative energy use and ease up on fossil fuel dependence. Both the Senate and House passed a number of energy bills, but ended up with a final - pared down - bill that the president might signed into law right before Christmas.

The original Senate bill

The Senate passed a swath of energy measures, as part of S 1419, in June including:

  • Fuel efficiency standards (also known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE standards). S 1419 would increase minimum gas mileage to 35 mpg by 2020. (WP)

  • Renewable electricity and biofuels. S 1419 requires that 36 billion gallons of fuel come from biofuel by 2022. (WP)