• Aug 3, 2007

In a survey of 30 congressional districts in the Midwest and Southeast, it was "found that nearly nine out of ten voters want mandatory increases in fuel efficiency." In fact, to be specific, they want the House of Representatives to pass the same CAFE standards as the Senate passed two months ago: 35 mpg for cars and trucks by 2020, and chose that over a slightly less strict competing bill. Even more startling: 85% of the respondents wanted compliance brought up to 2018.

Having said that, we can't help but think the results are slightly skewed. If the survey question wasn't entirely loaded, there were at least a couple of rounds in the cylinder. Essentially, respondents were asked to agree with one of two statements: carmakers should not have to make cars with better gas mileage because if they do it will make everything worse for America and you won't be able to buy an SUV, or, carmakers should have to make cars with better gas mileage because it will make everything better for America and you'll save money and we won't rely so much on foreign oil. Let me see...

According to the survey, voters apparently saw no negative consequences from mandating higher CAFE standards, with up to 81% believing that vehicles would remain just as powerful, just as safe, workers wouldn't lose their jobs, and the need to innovate would invigorate the economy. There is undoubtedly a desire for more fuel efficient vehicles, with a lot of room on all sides for the various parties to come up with workable solutions that benefit the most and harm the least. There could also, however, be surveys that do a better job of highlighting that fact.

[Source: Green Car Congress]



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  • 55 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Julius-
      I couldn't have said it better myself.

      CAFE is a way for the automakers to have to take all the burden, while Americans can drive as big and as far as they always have, while politicians get to tell said Americans that they did something about the problem.

      Except when they pass the CAFE increase and the cost of a new car goes through the roof, will these same people then ask the politicans to subsidize vehicle purchases or tell the automakers they can't set the cost of a new car above level X?
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's not often I say this but I do feel sorry for the automakers(In fact may be the first time I say it.)...

      Why does Dodge make a 425 hp station wagon made with nice heavy steel...because people buy it. Why does Porche make an SUV that weighs over 3 tons and has 500hp...because people by them. Why does Toyota build 5 SUVs and 2 Trucks....because people by them.

      People want big, strong, fast vehicles, and don't want to compromise. So they have to pay $100 a week in gas, they pay for it. But of course when there polled they say they want better gas mileage. No person is going to say that they like damaging the environment.

      People vote with their wallets, not with their voice. We want big cars and if we have to get 10mpg...well theres always more gas...(or so it seems most of America thinks)...

      But the government is ignoring what the people want (which may for once be wise in this case) and is forcing automakers to make vehicles that actually will decrease the harm to the enviroment. But while this change is happening people will be awfully surprised when the big Expedition they wanted is no longer on the dealer lots and all they can find is a Focus...

      ....and all in the name of progress
        • 7 Years Ago
        If you are not approaching the age of 60 you probably don't remember all the smoke stack industries, dirty rivers, and all the litter along the roads. Since 1865 my state has 70% more trees. You can swim and fish and boat in the river. Over two dozen textile (shoe and auto parts) plants in my town used to dump there waste in the river. People found out what a litter bag was. We have a way to go but, in 40 years we have come a long way and have nothing to be ashamed of. Over those 40 years the people that worked in those plants lost their jobs that we might have a cleaner environment to live in. Sometimes I think educators don't mention Love Canal New York or Times Beach Missouri. When will they vent some of their environmental anger at China, Indonesia, India, and Mexico. The companies that dick up the environment there do it with the sanction of these governments.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There's no better solution to a technical problem than a popularity contest among people with no technical background.

      If these people want to raise average fuel economy so badly, they should be driving a Yaris or Prius. Nearly 9 out of 10 voters want higher CAFE, and at the same time more than 9 out of 10 voters don't buy the clowncars which a higher CAFE would limit us to.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is why we need to get CAFE out of congress, it's just a disaster from the beginning.
      • 7 Years Ago
      CAFE standards haven't gone up since the first Bush admin. There is something really wrong with that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        And a 5 gallon can still only holds 5 gallons of water! This is an outrage!

      • 7 Years Ago
      Instead of raising gas tax, why not tax the purchase of a new vehicle based on the amount of co2 produced. A car that produced 300g co2 could be taxed at 30% and a car that produced 150 g or less could be tax free or have a very low leval of tax. That way peoples buying habits will change because a 2.0 L diesel jetta would be cheaper then a petrol. It also would not effect people who cannot buy a new vehicle as gas taxes would not change and in 3-4 years the more economical cars would filter down to them. Peoples buying habits change when you hit their pockets it is the only way. This way no one really gets hurt. By the way you can change the formula by adding in the amount of nox produced or by how much the car polutes in the production stage and transport stage. A prius shipped from Japan has done harm before it even arrives at your shores the same as the Jetta from Germany.
        • 7 Years Ago
        First, CO2 isn't the issue.

        Second, even if CO2 were the issue, regulation by CO2 per mile is missing the point just like regulation by gallons per mile is missing the point. The issue is the actual side effects, how many miles you go along the way is immaterial.
      Billy Ray
      • 7 Years Ago
      Gas mileage is going to continue to be an issue with the stupid rednecks who purchase Lincoln Navigators, Cadillac Escalades, Hummers, Dodge Rams, etc.

      Honda, Nissan and Toyota offer fuel efficient cars manufactured with build-quality. Why not buy a Prius instead of a Lincoln Town Car or Caddy de Ville? Duh ...
        • 7 Years Ago
        @Billy Ray
        Nice intelligent comment, really does a good job at furthering society. Good for youuuu.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Americans want their Excursions to get 50MPG and, by golly, there are plenty of politicians out there who can give it to them!
        • 7 Years Ago
        As my Last Manager would say:

        "And i want to be 6'4" and have a 14"..."

        9 out of 10 people may vote for that too...
        • 7 Years Ago
        Are we really this dumb as a country. We want better gas mileage and instead of just buying cars with better mileage we go to pass a law? Honestly this seems unAmerican. "I want better mileage so I'm going to force it on everybody else." If YOU want 50mpg then go buy a Prius. What if I don't care if I'm getting 25mpg? What happens to my rights? Seig Heil I guess...

        I've said this many times - if you want to improve mpg, tax the GAS! Or, hike the gas guzzler tax to a higher rate and include cars that get less than, say 25mpg. Higher prices lead to people buying more fuel effecient cars, and companies making appropriate cars to meet that demand. BUT, at the same time it preserves the ability of those who so choose to buy a car that doesn't get the best mileage if they want to have something more fun to drive.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Its as simple as supply and demand.

      you want high mpg? buy a hybrid or a yaris or a fit of hold out for the fortwo. you want high mpg in a suv? buy the escape hybrid or 400h.

      the automakers can only survive by providing what the consumer wants.

      you don't see anyone making Homer Simpson's car. why? because no one wants that.

      you will see a shift in pattern with the automakers only after the consumer shifts their buying pattern.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i'd like to see what the demographics are for the midwest and southeast as far as currently licensed vehicles are.

      i bet the next meetings donuts that it's mostly truck/SUVs. and THAT'S my claim for preemptive statistics based on anecdoctal evidence and confirmation bias!

      ok, taht last statement was for fun, but seriously, i'd like to see what they're driving. if it's mostly explorers and yukons, i could get a good laugh out of that. anybody want to fudge those statistics too?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think that raising the gas tax , and using the money for something like improving public transportation ,would be a good thing.

      It might also have a positive effect on our traffic here in LA. Might get some of the more undesireable cars and people off the roads too.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It's sad to see that in today's consumer mentality, people have no concept of responsible stewardship over natural resources. People are so disconnected from how resources (energy, food, water ...etc) are acquired that they think if you can afford it it's no one's business if they are wasting it.

        I don't expect all people to be conscious and responsible, but that where the government should intervene for the greater good of the country and the world. There are obviously great benefit to national security and future energy supply to control/reduce our energy usage.

        I agree with some of the previous posters. Higher gas taxes is the way to go.

        "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country" JFK






        • 7 Years Ago
        steve:

        It's called "The Tragedy of the Commons." Adam Smith, the founding theorist of Capitalism and Free Markets, was the first to describe it. Any economic good held in common eventually winds up being destroyed, because every individual has an interest in exploiting it to the maximum, which forces his neighbors to exploit it harder as well. Thus public land is over-grazed, fisheries collapse from over-exploitation, SUVs keep getting bigger, etc., etc.

        Another illustrative paradigm is the South American Monkey Trap. The natives take a coconut, and carve a hole in it just big enough for a monkey's hand to fit in empty. They fill it with food and stake it to the ground and withdraw. Soon enough, a monkey comes along and sticks his hand in, grabs a big hunk of food, and can't pull his hand out. He's frustrated, but he keeps trying. Meanwhile, the villagers move back in, spears in hand. If only the poor monkey could realize that his life is more important than that fist full of food. But they don't, and the villagers eat well that night.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why arent we voting to lower gas prices? Theres no real reason that they are so high, except what the gas companies want it. Its pretty amazing how much profit they can make. They raise gas prices at free will, practically. Hell, gas was 2.50 for the most part during the winter, but magically it shoots to 3 bucks for summer. Lets bet it will drop again after summer.

      Vote to control the gas companies, thats alot easier than voting for the magic button that makes cars have higher MPG...
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