Local News

Folks in the Triangle React to New Energy Bill

Posted December 19, 2007
Updated April 17, 2008

— President Bush signed into law Wednesday a new energy bill that calls for more fuel-efficient vehicles and requires a boost in the use of ethanol made from corn.

Bush called the legislation a major step towards energy independence. It requires automakers to increase fuel economy by 40 percent to an average of 35 mpg by 2020.

Ann Faison drives more than 40 miles from Zebulon to her job in Raleigh everyday. She supports the energy bill's initiatives.

"I am very much into finding out how we can help ourselves and not depend on other people or places to supply what we need,” Faison said.

The legislation also calls for an increase in ethanol fuel to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

Roger von Haefen is an expert in environmental economics at N.C. State University. He said he has concern over the energy bill's claims.

"It takes gasoline to transport the corn to the ethanol plant and then distribute the ethanol to various parts of the country,” he said.

That means our need of foreign oil will not greatly reduce.

The big idea behind the energy bill is to replace older technologies with newer technologies. For example, reinventing the old light bulb and making home appliances more energy efficient.

Gregg Merritt works for Cree, a company in Research Triangle Park that is working to replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs, or Light Emitting Diode lights. LEDs use 1 to 3 kilowatt hours of energy while the incandescent bulbs use 12 to 105 kilowatts.

"It will take a couple years before there are no light bulbs as we know them, but it is happening now,” Merritt said.

More efficient could cause some products to have a larger price tag, but that extra cost should be partially offset by energy bill savings.


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  • gpd Apr 18, 2008

    This is lip service, it's not a solution. Smoke and mirrors. Before this, there were parts of the world that were suffering a food crisis because of the high cost of rice, soybeans, and corn. We will not sacrifice food for energy. We bought and sold economy cars in the late 80's and early 90's because of world issues with energy. What we need to do is start making the dollar and the American company easier to do business with and start drilling the reserves we have in our own country without allowing those barrels to be exported. There's one marker that we need to look for if we want to know for sure that the Government is serious about aborting foreign oil...and that's when the Military vehicles begin to be changed to burn alternative fuels. Until that begins, you can be sure the lip-service will be swift and plentiful.

  • flashlight Dec 20, 2007

    Do E85 vehicles have to reach an average of 35 mpg?

  • room Dec 20, 2007

    wolff, You think taxing is the answer? You should be a politician, since thats the only words they know. How about dumping the tax incentives given to the oil/gas companies and use that money to promote alternative fuels. There are millions in incentives given that could be redirected into alternatives. Quit offering my tax money so easily. Your may make enough money to give without thought, but I prefer to keep mine and make the politicians justify using my money.

  • peacebee Dec 20, 2007

    I have a hybrid, and it is great, but does not get the absolute best mileage of any vehicle I have had. Research needs to be freed up to pursue more efficient and alternative sources of energy. For that matter, science - and the intellectual pursuit needs to start being endorsed more so our future does not dwindle into nothingness due to lack of interest in the sciences. American automakers research labs for too long have been squelched in finding a better alternative. I could be highly inaccurate in my assumptions...however, I see the decline in the sciences and engineering expertise in this nation...how can we stay in the intellectual race this way?

  • wolff Dec 20, 2007

    We could solve the energy problem real easy - slap a big tax on oil/gas/etc and use all that money for re-newable energy research. Be easy but painful at the same time for a few years.

  • Southern Fried Yankee Dec 20, 2007

    Note.....a horse may be the answer. It can transport you and your goods, can fertilize it's own feedstocks, has a fairly low impact on the environment and doesn't need a 4 lane highway to move around on........As far as global warming, though....It DOES emit CO2 and methane......Hmmmmm....That could be a problem.

  • North Carolina Native Dec 20, 2007

    if only our cars would run off of talk... they say it's cheap.

  • North Carolina Native Dec 20, 2007

    I thought this was going to be about my electric bill.... lol!

  • tbajr Dec 20, 2007

    Why must a bill be done for progress to go forward and how much
    is this going to cost the taxpayer's? It seems as though we have
    been on hold until one man says it is time to go forward. Again,
    there must be a catch somewhere.

  • nc resident Dec 20, 2007

    it won't decrease oil demand...more cars will be on the roads in the furure...it will only increase foreign food demand...pass me the monkey gravy please and some roast camel...