The following is from the Dec. 14, 2007, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Engineering Professor Al Armendariz provided expertise for this story.
By DAVE MICHAELS
The Dallas Morning News
WASHINGTON – Last January, House Democrats inaugurated their control of Congress by picking a fight with Big Oil, moving to repeal the industry's tax breaks within the first 100 days of the new Congress.
On Thursday, the battle ended – and Big Oil won.
Facing a veto threat from the White House, Senate Democrats were defeated in an attempt to raise more than $12 billion for alternative energy by revoking production tax breaks and raising other taxes on oil and gas producers. . .
Supporters hailed the legislation's impact on vehicular gas-mileage standards. Congress hasn't updated the fuel economy standards in 32 years. The change, from 25 to 35 miles per gallon by 2020, would save the country 1.1 million barrels of oil per day.
The higher fuel standards would reduce the country's current carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent, Democrats said.
Automobiles are responsible for much of North Texas' air pollution. But even supporters said the new standards won't solve the region's air-quality problem – not in the short term.
That's because about half of all vehicles on local roads are older, dirtier vehicles that won't go away anytime soon, said Al Armendariz, an environmental and engineering professor at Southern Methodist University.
"By the time that you see an effect, it's really going to be in the order of 10 years," Mr. Armendariz said.
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