Breaking: Senate votes to raise fuel standards.

“The Senate voted Thursday to increase fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon for cars and SUVs, the first significant boost demanded of automakers in nearly 20 years.”

The agreement was announced at a news conference and then quickly adopted by the Senate without a roll call vote. It scaled back tougher standards already in the Senate’s energy bill but was still considered strong enough to have wide support from environmentalists.

“It closes the SUV loophole,” declared Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., referring to current requirements that allow much less stringent fuel efficiency standards for SUVs and pickup trucks than for cars. “This is a victory for the American public.”

UPDATE: Feinstein has released a statement on the vote: “The compromise legislation raises the fleetwide average fuel economy standards for all cars, trucks and SUVs by 10 miles per gallon over 10 years — or from 25 to 35 miles per gallon by Model Year 2020.” By 2025, the fuel economy increases for cars and light-duty trucks would:

— Save between 2.0 and 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, nearly the amount of oil imported today from the Persian Gulf.

— Achieve up to 18 percent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from anticipated levels, or the equivalent of taking 60 million cars off the road in one year.

— Save consumers $79-98 billion at the pump, based on a $3.00 gas price.

Read the full release, with many more details, HERE.

UPDATE II: Climate Progress warns that the House may punt on increasing fuel economy standards.