• Sep 21, 2010
Who wants better, more efficient cars? Most of you, apparently.

A nationwide telephone poll (PDF) conducted by the Mellman Group and sponsored by Environment America, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Union of Concerned Scientists, found that 74 percent of expected voters in the U.S. would support "the federal government requiring the auto industry to increase average fuel efficiency to 60 miles per gallon by the year 2025." Additionally, 66 percent of the 1,000-plus surveyed support the 60 mpg CAFE goal even if it adds as much as $3,000 to the price of new cars. Ford's VP wholeheartedly disagrees with the suggestion that buyers would be willing to pay more for increased fuel efficiency, but that's another story.

Here are some more findings from the poll:
  • 78% favor regulations to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles.
  • 88% believe that the U.S. needs to act now to increase fuel efficiency.
  • If stringent fuel economy standards are implemented, 63% of respondents believe that the cost of vehicles will increase beyond an acceptable amount.
  • 75% of respondents believe that increasing the average fuel economy numbers for vehicles would likely create jobs in the U.S.
  • 86% of respondents believe that the technology required to achieve 60 mpg either already exists or could be developed soon.
Hitting 60 mpg may seem like a stretch but, as Aaron Huertas, spokesman for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told HybridCars.com, "60 mpg doesn't sound like a crazy number to the public. They believe the auto companies have the technology to achieve it." The public is probably right, but who's willing to foot the bill for all that pricey, efficiency-boosting technology? Are you? Hat tip to Steven!

[Source: Green Car Congress, UCSUSA, Hybrid Cars | Image: Beige Alert – C.C. License 2.0]


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  • 32 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think the poll questions and results speak for themselves. I'm always skeptical of polls, too, but if you read the linked survey results, you'll see that we fairly presented our arguments and arguments automakers have used in the past. In particular, we asked about the cost issue in several different ways. Each time, it was clear that support for higher standards remains robust. The public is clearly on the side of increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions.

      http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_vehicles/National-Cars-Polling.pdf

      Thanks,
      Aaron Huertas
      Union of Concerned Scientists
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks for providing this link. The questions do seem reasonably phrased. However, that is such a small sample size that I don't think this poll is very reliable.

        Encouraging though.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks. 1,000+ respondents is pretty standard for pollsters. It leaves a margin of error of a little over 3%. Lowering the margin of error further is typically not worth the time and cost. For instance, doubling the number of survey respondents would only lower the margin of error down to around 2% and the results would very likely not be at all different.

        More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margin_of_error.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd like to see how they phrased the question?

      1. Would you like to see cars getting 60 mpg by 2025 ?

      2. Would you be willing to give up your gas guzzling SUV and drive a car somewhere between a Honda Insight (#1) and a Nissan Leaf to get 60 mpg ?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly right. Given that those behind the polls have an agenda to push low or no emissions vehicles, I was already suspicious of the results. Additionally, with a little thought, it was clear that those polled clearly didn't understand the implications of the questions - the lower performance, loss of utility and increased costs associated with vehicles that achieve a 60 mpg fleetwide average.

        The only "voting" that matters is with the pocketbook. Until I see significant market penetration of high mileage vehicles, it is foolish to mandate anything more than what we already have.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nice link Nixon, I like the part where they have to determine whether they are a man or a woman without asking. Record if they are a man or a women but don't ask? WTH?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Linkie from the story contains all the answers to your questions.

        http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/clean_vehicles/National-Cars-Polling.pdf
      • 4 Years Ago
      "A nationwide telephone poll (PDF) conducted by the Mellman Group and sponsored by Environment America, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the Union of Concerned Scientists"

      These "polls" mean so little nowadays. You got the Mellman group, known for publishing pro environmental studies, plus 4 environmental groups picking up the tab.

      Is anybody naive enough to think the results would be anything else?



      • 4 Years Ago
      Why are some people so quick to condemn this poll?
      • 4 Years Ago
      60 mpg is an average for the entire fleet. Obviously, not all vehicles are going to meet that but they don't have to. How do electric vehicles factor into the calculation? Do they use the MPGe (the Nissan Leaf, for example, is about 140 MPGe) or some other method?

      If they are using something like MPGe to factor in electric cars, then this talk about it costing more money for ICE vehicles is BS. They could meet the future CAFE standards by just selling electric cars to offset the lower mileage ICE vehicles.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That is a very good question. Last I heard, only the first 200,000 EVs will count toward the fleet average of any one auto maker. This is supposed to force continued development of more efficient internal combustion technologies but I get the feeling that for many auto makers it will set the limit of how many EVs they will end up producing.

        My preferred solution is to put no limits on the number of electric vehicles that "count" towards the fleet average.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I too, would like a Dodge Caravan that gets 60 MPG, seats 8, can pull a boat up a rough, unpaved mountain road (there's lakes on mountain tops, didn'tyaknow?), gets from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, and corners like it's on rails.

      However, wanting something and understanding that it is not physically possible are two different things. I have to wonder how much of that 74% realize this.

      A 60 MPG fleet average would only happen in 15 years if fully half of all *vehicles* on the road are electric, including SUVs, pickup trucks, and Minivans. Which will only happen if we somehow invent Mr. Fusion tomorrow and start building cars powered by it the very next day. I'm not even close to kidding about that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This poll is about as accurate as asking people is they favour eating right, exercising more, losing weight or quitting smoking in 10 years. You'd get a roughly 75% approval rating there too. The only problem is that almost everyone talks big when some huge change in their life is a decade away, but they're not so vocal when the time comes to actually do it. The people reading polls know this, hence the mixed messages you're seeing from the auto industry vs the public.

      Do a poll asking people if they favour raising the average to 60mpg by 2011, and if it's still 74% then we'll talk.
      • 4 Years Ago
      $3000? I guess I'll never buy a new car with the way they go up all the time. These electronics and government regulations have pushed a new car way beyond my reach.
      • 4 Years Ago
      By 2025, I would certainly hope that a fair portion of the vehicles on the roads will be EV's or serial hybrids, and so the MPGe of those could be above 100; and even approach 200MPGe.

      Let's not throw up our hands in despair -- this is completely doable and yes, it will improve our economy in several important ways.

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sure -- largely from the savings. NOT spending money on energy means you have more money to spend elsewhere. If you are driving an EV, then most of the money you do pay for the energy stays in this country -- much less money going abroad to pay for oil. Military spending could be greatly reduced, if we are not needing to defend the supply of oil.

        Also, there is much less pollution, and less carbon output, so slowing Global Climate Change -- this will become very, very, expensive, if we do not reduce our carbon output. Also, the push to find more oil would be reduced, and the really hard stuff could be left in the ground, and this would lower the chances of nasty spills, etc.

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        Can you please elaborate on how you think achieving 3-6 times the mpg would be good for our economy?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Considering the sponsors, I am quite skeptical about this poll. I'd like to believe it, but it sounds more like propaganda.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I would not trust the replusively sanctimonious 'Union of Concerned Scientists', so named no doubt to create distinction against anyone who disagrees with them, as being 'unconcerned' in a tawdry and self-serving polemic device.

        They could more appropriately be titled the UCW, with the first two words being 'Union' and 'Complete'.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't know anyone who would not like to get 60 mpg. The question is what are you willing to give up to get it?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hey Ernie,
      I hope you're using an electric outboard on that pristine lake on top of the mountain.
      Others can comment about the batteries.
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