A House subcommittee on July 12 will consider adding language to an energy efficiency and conservation bill that would significantly boost the fuel mileage requirements for passenger cars, sport utility vehicles and other light trucks. Democratic Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts will ask lawmakers on the House energy and air quality subcommittee to adopt an amendment to the pending bill to raise the fuel standard of U.S. vehicles to 40 miles per gallon. If enacted into the law, the stronger standard would save consumers $10 billion in fuel costs a year and shave U.S. petroleum demand by 3 million barrels per day, according to environmental groups who support Markey's amendment. The U.S. market consumes about 20 million barrels of petroleum a day. The current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that were approved by Congress in 1975 after the Arab oil embargo require passenger cars to get an average 27.5 miles per gallon and light trucks 20.7 miles. Due to opposition from the auto manufacuturing industry and other factors, the standards have remain unchanged for years. Light trucks were allowed to have lower mileage when the CAFE standards were adopted because at the time they were used primarily by farmers and businesses. But today the category includes SUVs, pickups and minivans that account for about half the vehicles sold in the United States. On July 12, subcommittee members will begin what is expected to be a contentious debate on more than a dozen amendments relating to gasoline mixture specifications and energy conservation issues, which will include Markey's higher fuel standard amendment. The Bush administration says it is waiting for a CAFE study from the National Academy of Sciences to be released at the end of this month before deciding whether to seek a change in the fuel standards.