WASHINGTON (March 14)—After an acrimonious debate, the Senate rejected a bill that would have increased corporate average fuel economy for auto makers to 36 mpg by 2015. Instead, it approved 62-38 a milder bill that directs the Transportation Department to develop tighter CAFE standards but sets no specific numbers. Auto makers and their suppliers were elated by the vote, but supporters of the tougher bill accused their opponents of using scare tactics and making motorists believe that a 36-mpg standard would effectively ban sport-utility vehicles and minivans.
Senate rejects stiff CAFE increase, approves milder bill
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