New National Poll Shows Nearly Three-Quarters of Likely Voters Support Increasing Fuel Efficiency Standards to 60 MPG by 2025

WASHINGTON (September 16, 2010) – A new national poll of likely voters conducted by the Mellman Group found overwhelming public support for raising fuel efficiency standards and reducing global warming pollution from the nation’s cars and trucks.

The poll found that 74 percent of likely voters favor having “the federal government require the auto industry to increase average fuel efficiency…to 60 miles per gallon by the year 2025.” Sixty-six percent of respondents still supported the idea even if it added $3,000 to the price of a new car. However, eighty-three percent of respondents said they would favor the policy if a $3,000 cost were recouped in four years through savings at the pump.

Respondents believe that the automakers can achieve a 60 mile per gallon standard. Eight-six- percent of respondents agreed that technology either already exists or could be developed “if we made a serious effort.” Only 10 percent respondents thought “the technology does not already exist and would be very difficult to develop.”

A large majority of the respondents believe that it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” a 60 mile per gallon standard will reduce their fuel bills, decrease air pollution, make the U.S. less dependent on Middle East oil, and protect American autoworker jobs. The poll also found that the public wouldn’t find potential auto industry objections to the new rules convincing and in one case, seventy-nine percent of respondents said an argument about the auto industry’s past objections to seat belts, airbags, catalytic converters and fuel efficiency was a convincing reason to support increasing fuel efficiency standards.

The survey had a sample size of 1,000 and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent. It was conducted via telephone between September 8 and 13.

Environment America, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Union of Concerned Scientists sponsored the poll. The groups have formed the Go 60 MPG coalition to encourage President Obama, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to increase fuel efficiency standards to at least 60 miles per gallon by 2025 and reduce global warming pollution standards to no more than 143 grams per mile by that year. The two agencies are set to officially start the process for new clean car standards later this month. The standards will cover model years 2017 to 2025.