|Voters showed a preference for the 35 mpg by 2020 proposal.|
A recent poll from more than 30 congressional districts across Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida and Michigan found strong voter support for the US House to pass fuel efficiency standards at least as strong as those passed by the US Senate in June.
The Senate bill proposes an increase in fuel efficiency standards in cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. (Earlier post.) In the House, Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Todd Platts (R-PA) have introduced legislation that would lock-in that 35 mpg target. Another bill introduced by Reps. Baron Hill (D-IN) and Lee Terry (R-NE), proposes maintaining separate standards for cars and light-duty trucks, with a combined average of no less than 32 mpg and no more than 35 mpg by 2022. The auto industry is backing the Hill-Terry proposal.
|Voters Favoring Increased Fuel Efficiency|
The polls, commissioned by the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency and conducted by The Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies from July 13-16, found that nearly nine out of ten voters want mandatory increases in fuel efficiency.
Given a choice between the two proposals, about three-quarters of the respondents preferred the Markey-Platts bill (35 mpg by 2020) over the Hill-Terry bill (max 35 mpg by 2022).
About 85% of voters wanted the standards to be implemented earlier (2018) rather than later (2022). Slightly more than 60% opposed a mandatory cap on fuel economy standards.
The poll also explored voter reaction to arguments both for and against fuel economy standards.
When asked which of the two following positions “is closer to your point of view”...
We should not require auto companies to meet higher fuel efficiency standards over the next decade because it will hurt American auto companies while helping foreign automakers, cost American jobs, as well as keep autoworkers from getting their pensions and benefits. It will result in lighter, unsafe cars on the road, increase the cost of automobiles, and take vehicles off the market, like SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks.
We should require auto companies to meet higher fuel efficiency standards over the next decade because American technology can produce cars, SUVs, minivans and pickups that are both safe and fuel efficient, and producing such vehicles will help make American auto companies more competitive and will save consumers money. Moreover,our national security requires us to become less dependent on foreign oil and the best way to do that is by reducing our consumption of gasoline.
...between 74% to 80% of respondents supported the second position, B.
Voters thought that increased fuel economy standards were more likely to:
Reduce their cost of fuel;
Decrease air pollution; and
Make the US less dependent on Mid-East oil.
Voters thought it unlikely that increased fuel economy standards would:
Make cars, trucks and SUVs smaller and less safe;
Make cars, trucks and SUVs less powerful;
Harm the US Economy; and
Cause US autoworkers to lose their jobs, benefits and pensions.
Between 69% and 81% said that higher standards would encourage automakers to innovate, thereby saving jobs and helping the economy.