On July 29 Congress passed what said Sen. Pete V. Domenici, chairperson of
the Energy & Natural Resources committee called "a bipartisan energy
bill that will make a real difference to every American." President Bush
will sign the bill in Albuquerque on August 8 at Sandia National Laboratories.
The bill, which spent five years in Congress, offers numerous incentives for
consumers who use energy-efficient products in their homes. Consumers can earn
a tax credit of 10-percent for upgrading their homes with energy-efficient products,
including windows. In order to keep the cost of the provision low, there is a
$200 limit on the credit for replacing windows; the credit is expected to go into
effect January 1, 2006.
However, despite the savings for using energy-efficient products, we can also
expect to see the cost of gas continue to increase. The new provision removes
the Congressional mandate that supports adding methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE)
to gasoline. While MTBE reduces smog caused by automobiles, it has also contaminated
well water all over the country.
Now, refiners will have to reconfigure their plants for alternatives to MTBE.
Gene Edwards, senior vice president of Valero Energy Corp., said in a Wall Street
Journal article he estimates his company to lose about 60,000 barrels a day of
gasoline production next spring, as it will take as long as two years to reconfigure
the refineries. He says he expects the cost of gasoline to definitely increase,
estimating the increase to be about 8 cents per gallon.