In advance of eagerly awaited details regarding proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, Consumer Reports has released results of a new survey, and – no surprise here – 93 percent of respondents "support increased fuel efficiency." Further revelations include 77 percent in favor of car manufacturers producing more fuel-efficient vehicles, and 80 percent agreeing with fuel economy standards requiring fleet averages to top 55 miles per gallon by 2025. Mark Cooper, Director of Research at the Consumer Federation of America, said in a statement,

"These results reflect the strongest support for higher fuel economy standards and willingness to adopt new fuel savings technologies we have seen to date."

If there's anything truly interesting to be gleaned from the results, it's that 56 percent of those surveyed claim to be considering a hybrid or EV, with fuel costs cited as a primary motivation. Correspondingly, 81 percent of consumers indicate that they would be willing to pay extra for a vehicle if it was cheaper to operate.

And these weren't just readers of Consumer Reports who were being polled. The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted telephone interviews with 1,008 people over the age of 18 who were chosen as a "nationally representative probability sample."

While automakers have long decried Americans' willingness to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to fuel economy, if this survey is indeed reflective of consumer trends, that could be changing.

To read the full press release, continue past the jump.
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Consumer Reports Poll: Large Majority of Consumers Support Stronger Fuel Economy Standards to Save Money, Lower Fuel Costs

Over Three-Fourths Say Government Should Increase, Enforce Higher Standards

An overwhelming majority of consumers believe that fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks should be improved, according to a new poll by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. Nearly all respondents (93 percent) support increased fuel efficiency, while 77 percent agree that car manufacturers should produce more fuel-efficient vehicles and the government should increase standards and enforce them.

Over half (56 percent) of respondents said they were considering hybrid or electric cars for their next vehicle. If availability improves over the next 15 years, consumers are even more likely (72%) to consider them.

One of the driving forces behind the growing support for alternative fuel vehicles and increased fuel efficiency standards? The cost of gasoline.

"Eighty-nine percent of consumers who are considering these hybrid and electric models cited lower fuels costs as one of their motivations for making the transition," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center. "This survey demonstrates there is strong support in the consumer market for more efficient vehicles that help you keep your costs down at the gas pump."

And the poll findings strongly suggest that consumers are willing to pay more for a fuel-efficient vehicle if it means they will save money on gas over the long term. In fact, 81 percent of consumers responded that they were willing to pay extra if it would lower their operating costs.

Consumers who have at least one car indicate that the price of gasoline (79%) is their number one concern, followed closely by America's reliance on foreign oil (72%).

In addition, 80 percent agreed that fuel economy standards should require auto manufacturers to increase the overall fleet average to at least 55 miles per gallon by 2025, showing strong support for the target fuel economy or CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards recently announced by the White House.

Champion said, "Moving to a 54.5 mpg average by 2025 would save consumers thousands in fuel costs over the life of the vehicle. This survey makes it clear that there will be customer demand for these efficient vehicles as auto manufacturers continue to innovate to meet these standards."

This week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are expected to unveil details of the proposed CAFE standards and issue a notice of proposed rulemaking.

Mark Cooper, Director of Research at the Consumer Federation of America, commented on the CR survey results: "These results reflect the strongest support for higher fuel economy standards and willingess to adopt new fuel savings technologies we have seen to date. With the average annual household spending on gasoline headed for a record $2,900 this year, there should be little surprise at this strong support and little doubt that the goal of 54.5 miles per gallon is achievable."

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. 1,008 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+. Interviewing took place over October 28- October 31, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 3.1% points at a 95% confidence level.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Has the air of propaganda to it. Q. Would you favor buying a car that gets 55 MPG if it costs $0 more? 80% yes Q. Would you favor buying a car that gets 55 MPG if it costs $500 more? didn’t ask Q. Would you favor buying a car that gets 55 MPG if it costs $3500 more? didn’t ask Q. Would you favor buying a car that gets 55 MPG if it costs $6500 more? didn’t ask Q. Would you favor buying a car that gets 55 MPG if it is 30% smaller than the car you currently drive? didn’t ask Q. Would you favor buying a car that runs on water? probably 100% yes
      • 3 Years Ago
      large majority also decided that grass was green and skies are generally blue
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's because the large majority doesn't know a single thing about the laws of physics. Do I want an STi that gets 100mpg? If it still performs like an STi, sure, but we all know that's impossible.
      Paul P.
      • 3 Years Ago
      People want better fuel economy, that's a given. However, what they typically don't to have to pay more for it.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        Exactly. The average person thinks car companies can create a 50mpg, good-looking, profit generating vehicle on a whim for $25k if they really wanted to. It's those eeevil oil companies that force Ford and GM to make behemoth SUVs, not market demand or something crazy like that...
          • 3 Years Ago
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        there you have a point: they don't want better fuel economy for the environment...they just wanna pay less!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Until you actually ask people what they would be willing to pay for X mpg. the poll means very little. I hear carbon fiber and lightweight, yet strong materials are very expensive. I hear R & D is not cheap either.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Don't put it up to manufacturers to make the choice to be efficient. Increase gas guzzler taxes to substantial amounts and let the customer determine the market.
        Pj Taintz
        • 3 Years Ago
        increasing taxes on people isnt letting the people decide, its deciding for them
        • 3 Years Ago
        Try getting that regressive tax passed through Congress. The rich will continue to drive their 8mpg Bentleys while the poor can no longer own cars because they can't afford to fuel them. Fantastic idea.
      Mr. Mann
      • 3 Years Ago
      a large majority can't afford the cars that have low fuel economy
      • 3 Years Ago
      You have to wait to see what people actually buy before you really know.
      • 3 Years Ago
      There's got to be a quick payoff for fuel economy. No way I would invest $$ for a 5-10 year payback. It needs to be 3-4 year payback for the money. Top hybrids (volt incl.) and diesels command such high pricetags that the average driver could never see payback compared to, say, a Nissan Versa. Even high mileage commuters would need to calculate carefully. It's misleading. If GM brings out a Chevy Cruze diesel that undercuts the VW TDI: things may get interesting.
      • 3 Years Ago
      What, a survey asking if I want a 50-MPG duallie pickup or not isn't valid?
      • 3 Years Ago
      funny how $4+gas prices are in the background lol
      The Other Bob
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you ask the question: "Do you favor legislation that will mandate the creation of safe, affordable flying cars that run on clean, cheap fuel by 2015?" I bet a majority will support the law as well, that just does not make it technologically possible.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Other Bob
        Yeah, because better fuel economy is soooooo not feasible... Jeez, it's people like you who destroyed our auto industry once. Please don't do it again.
        Tolitz Rosel
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Other Bob
        good thing it isn't the same thing huh?
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