Senate Republicans approved an energy policy statement yesterday that rejects a basic element in President Carter's energy plan - his proposed use of new federal taxes to drive up energy prices and thereby discourage consumption.
The 38 GOP senators agreed that prices ought to rise. But instead of calling for taxes, they followed their party's traditional policy and called for the lifting of federal price controls on crude oil and natural gas.
That way at least some of the money from the higher prices would go to producers rather than the government.
The Republicans, however, did not speficy how rapidly present controls should be lifted.
In order to encourage conservation, Carter would increase the price of domestic oil to the world price by a tax that would be rebated to taxpayers.
The Republicans said they recognized that the world price of oil has been raised to an artificial level by oil-producing nations and rejected the idea of immediate decontrol to allow "free market" forces to work when the market is not free. Their paper said oil prices should be decontrolled by a "self-executing formula" on which they apparently could not agree.
Carter would also use a complex system of taxes, controls, credits and rebates to encourage reduced use of oil, more natural gas production and a switch in use from both to abundant coal.
The Republicans accepted the idea of imposing mandatory fuel efficiency standards on the auto industry, but rejected the President's call for a tax on sale of gas-guzzling cars or his standby gasoline tax that could go as high as 50 cents per gallon.
The only mention of tax in the Republican statement was a windfall tax to soak up excessive profits that the oil companies would realize from decontrol.
Another basic difference between the parties is on development of a new type of plutonium-fueled nuclear power plant. The Senate Republicans favor it. President Carter wants it held up because plutonium can be used to produce atomic bombs and he wants time to try to persuade other nations not to turn to plutonium for energy.
The Republicans approved a proposal to encourage - but not require as the President would - utility companies to help customers insulate their homes. THey joined the President in calling for mandatory energy standards for major home appliances.
They supported encouragement of the use of mass transit, federal funds to produce an auto that doesn't burn gasoline, early delivery of natural gas from the North Slope of Alaska, tax credits to encourage energy savings in homes and industrial conversion to coal.
House Republican leaders have rejected that idea of trying to draft an alternative energy plan, at least until now. Rep. John B. Anderson (Ill.), senior Republican on the ad hoc House committee set up to coordinate action on the President's energy package, said yesterday that House Republicans may draft a similar document after they have given more consideration to the issue.
James R. Schlesinger, top energy adviser to the President, testified at a House commerce subcommittee that the President's plan to extend natural gas regulation from interstate to include intrastate gas is encessary to reform a distorted market that saw critical shortages in the North last winter while unregulated producing states used gas for such low priority purposes as boiler fuel.
He said the proposed price for all gas of $1.75 per thousand cubic feet is enough to give producers a good profit while not imposing big increases on consumers.