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Survey Claims 76% of Americans Want 40MPG by 2010

More than three-quarters of Americans (76%)—including 78% of likely 2008 voters—want Congress to raise fuel economy standards to 40 mpg (5.88 l/100km) by 2010 rather than waiting to reach a more modest goal by 2018, according to a new Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) survey conducted for the nonprofit Civil Society Institute (CSI) think tank and its 40MPG.org project.

Key findings of the CSI/40MPG.org survey include the following:

  • There is little partisan difference in the preference of Americans for raising federal standards by 2010 to 40mpg, with support from Democrats at 82%, Independents at 80%, and Republicans at 72%.

  • Half of Americans (53%) say they would be more likely to support a candidate who advocated a 40mpg fuel-efficiency standard as a way to lower global warming and reduce US reliance on Middle Eastern oil. Over a quarter of Americans (28%) say that a 40 MPG stance would make them as likely to support a candidate, and only 15% say it would make them less likely to back such a candidate.

The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation’s CARAVAN omnibus, among a sample of 1,013 adults (504 men and 509 women) aged 18 and over living in private households in the Continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was completed during the period of April 19-22, 2007.

The survey was weighted by four variables: age, sex, geographic region and race to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total population. The margin of error at the 95% confidence level is plus or minus three percentage points.



The product development cycle in the auto industry is three years minimum and more. 2018 is a far more realistic expectation, given the investments in technology that would be needed.

The marketplace and high fuel prices are already pushing people towards buying more fuel efficient vehicles.


Who are all these people driving SUV's
I dont buy this survey if you ask aomeone they say yes and then go buy a gas gussling pickup with lots of power


Oh god I cant wait till they hammer in one of these bad plans and it bleeps everything up. I enjoy chaos and this will be wonderful bloody havok.

Robert Schwartz

I will believe them when they trade their Hummers for Civics.

This is the difference between expressed preferences and revealed preferences.

Travis Rassat

I was thinking about this the other day - while higher standards for new vehicles are good, what percentage of vehicles on the road are actually new or even less than 3 years old?

I would like to see more action taken to get some of the older, poorly maintained, smoking, oil burning junkers I seem to get stuck behind on a daily basis off the road or repaired. I know some states/metro areas have mandatory testing requirements, but perhaps something like that could be extended nationwide.

Any thoughts?


We have a program in B.C. called AirCare. Everybody complains about it, but the air is a whole lot fresher.


i second that with neil although a friend of mine once said,

"man i have to take my car to aircare and pay 100 dollars to get it certified? That's bs other provinces in the country doesn't have to do it but our city does, its such garbage."

the aircare only applies to old cars. although i hear a lot of exploits used just to pass their cars (octane booster, disabling something on the car ect.)

although that kind of ignorance sometimes upsets me considering the nice air we are blessed with (soon to be anyway, B.C air is declining at a fast rate thanks to the SUV + Grow OP industry booming like mad)


Yuppies- there are alot of people living on WalMart wages and just getting by. Oil burners!!! Keep your snobbish opinion. Their should be a FNMA or Sally type loan system set up for all to buy a plug type EV to free gasoline addiction in this country.


Kevin and Robert, While I'm sure there are lots of people that really crave the fast acceleration for it's own sake, I think there are many people who buy cars based on status symbol effect, to show off the simple fact that they can buy a better car than most. So while people buying a lexus or a hummer would unlikely trade it in for a civic, they might still support having the entire fleet move to higher mpg... just as long as they have the relatively fastest car so they can leave most everyone in the dust speeding away from a light.

C Harget

CAFE standards work and should be raised aggressively. CAFE standards doubled the average fuel economy of new vehicles between the mid 1970's and the mid 1980's. They can do it again. Technology has come a long way since then.

Then, as now, Detroit made most of its profits selling oversized, overpowered cars, and cried hardship. Then, as now, the health of our economy, ecology, and ability to resist oil shocks maks raising fuel efficiency standards the most responsible choice for legislators can make.

As to how soon the auto industry can respond, they can start responding within 3 years. They have torpedoed and stalled so many prior attempts to raise CAFE that morally, I think they deserve very little accomodation for their scheduling concerns, and the soonest possible dates should be used.


No elblindo the magnificent they did NOT make most of thier money off bg overpowered cars and trucks before cafe. The TRUCK companies made money from trucks the small car companies made money from small cars and the sedan companies made money from sedans...

Before cafe the companies were each well known for a different mux of cars/trucks. They would follow whatever trend customers wanted and everything while slow was t least stable and slowly improving.

IF IF IF cafe had been car to car car type to car type then things would have been ok but it wasnt and things started to squew toward certain products paying for EVERYTHING.


I traded in my gas guzzling Ford Explorer for a Toyota Prius. Is that proof enough for ya?

BTW it gets 48mpg actual ... not EPA rated. Don't be fooled by the current EPA numbers. They don't reflect normal usage (stopping/starting, using the AC, actually accelerating away from the stop light without everyone honking at you).

Travis Rassat


When I talk about "oil burners" I am not meaning that as a snobbish opinion, I am simply referring to the cars that are actually burning oil and emitting blue smoke because the rings are bad due to age, poor maintenance or both. Like you say, sometimes people are struggling to get by and I can sympathize to a point (although maintenance expenses are just part of car ownership), but when I see a car with expensive wheels burning oil like this, I don't have any sympathy. I have a 98 Acura Integra - it's nothing special, but I've maintained it well and it doesn't burn a measurable amount of oil.

Anyway, you hit on exactly what I think is part of the issue and the point I was hoping to make - raising standards for new cars is great and all, but not all of us are going to rush out and buy new cars. We can't afford to or don't need to. So, there's still a high percentage of cars on the road that are continuing to pollute as much as before, or due to poor maintenance or just age, more than when new. That just indicates the new standards only affect a small percentage of cars.

The sticking point (one of many) is how can we promote good environmentalism without it becoming a hardship for people?


I think we ought to recognize that the electorate has more courage than we give them credit for.

Yup, 40MPG is not attainable by 2010. But 30-32 mpg is, with diesels and mild hybrids, and the greenhouse benefits (and gas cost benefits) of more reduction faster are absolutely true.

And they've learned: any target set 10 years out is an illusion, and will never be achieved (or watered down by truck exemptions and ethanol credits).

So they are saying "let's act now."

We all should be listening (Hear me, Bob Lutz?). This is real smarts from real people.

C Harget


In the early 70's, Detroit noticed that the labor on a big car was not that much more than the labor on a small car, but if you "supersized" the car, the perception of value was larger, and you made better margins. So, Detroit marketed big cars as macho, powerful, safer, and symbols of success, and laughed their way to the Bank. When CAFE passed, the big block engines went away, and you know what? The cars could still go with the itty bitty small block V-8s or even, gasp, a V-6.

Here's a fun factoid. If Americans just drove the most fuel efficient version of the car model they already drive (the 4 cylinder instead of the V-6, or the 1.9 liter instead of the 2.3 liter engine) Americans would consume 3 million less barrels of oil each day. There are other theories about how to improve average fuel economy, but CAFE is a proven method. The car companies will adjust. We adjust. We will all benefit.


This survey is hooey! There are no data discussing cost to achieve the 40 mpg average, only a "benefit" of a few billion dollars in consumer savings.

With 230+ million vehicles averaging 20 mpg (FHWA Highway Statistics 2005, October 2006) in the current fleet the current rate of new vehicle registrations would have to increase from the current 20+ million/year by ~15% to 23 million/year just to replace the fleet over the 10 year period. This presumes, as others have pointed out, that the manufacturers can supply only 40 mpg or better vehicles TODAY!

I expect that the only way consumers will buy 40mpg vehicles is if the marketplace is left to work and (1) fuel prices continue to increase as supply is constrained and demand continues to grow; and (2) manufacturers change product mix to satisfy customer demand for higher-fuel-economy cars.

In my case, the tipping point was USD2.25/gal fuel in April 2005. I moved from a vehicle burning 135 to 150 litres a week (35 to 40 gal. US) in a GMC Jimmy to one burning 40 to 50 litres a week (11 to 13 gal. US) in a VW Jetta TDI. My fuel costs dropped from USD350/mo to USD150/mo. Still high, but manageable.

I suspect everyone has a tipping point. There is no need for government intervention because people will make the changes in their buying habits to reduce the economic costs to themselves as fuel prices increase.

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