A new bill passed in December by the US Congress with the aim of increasing car fuel efficiency is widely believed to be a step towards cutting the amount of oil imported from the Arab Gulf countries by half in by 2020. The new law imposes new measures to increase the efficiency of fuel used in vehicles, and car makers will have to manufacture vehicles that use less amounts of fuel.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the Congress who championed the passing of the bill, said that the new law “will put us on the right path towards achieving energy independence.” Pelosi considered energy independence not only a national security issue, but an environmental, economic, health, and even ethical issue.

According to the new law, car makers are requested to manufacture cars that consume one gallon of petrol for 35 miles by 2020. This, in fact, means that America’s consumption of petrol will decrease by 1.1 million gallons daily. This figure represents half the amount consumed now by vehicles in America. This also represents more than half the amount of oil imported by America from the Arab gulf region.

The law also urges car manufacturers to invest heavily in biofuels and grants tax discounts to those who use cars that consume mixed fuel and reduce petrol consumption. Encouraging the use of vehicles that use petrol-saving technologies, the law also urges energy companies to produce 15% of electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind, sun rays, sea waves…etc. by 2020.

Many observers saw the law “a historic decision”. A campaigner for car fuel efficiency hailed the law as “a historic agreement that put an end to the controversy that has persisted in the Congress for the past thirty years over the efficiency of car fuel.”

Other observers think that if the law was passed by the Senate and endorsed by the American president, it will definitely serve the interests of petrol consumers as well as providers. They also argue that one of the reasons behind the passing of the bill was the skyrocketing oil prices that bordered on $90 a barrel. Having negatively affected American petrol consumers, the high prices prompted citizens to send angry messages to pressure lawmakers to pass the law.