According to a new poll of Michigan residents, they don't think that holding back on raising fuel efficiency and emissions standards will help the domestic automakers. Instead most people think the industry that employs (at least for now) so many of them needs some tough love. Two-thirds of households that include people that work in the business and seventy-two percent of all people in Michigan think an increase to 40mpg would benefit GM, Ford and Chrysler. Forcing the automakers to increase fuel efficiency, although it would cost money to redesign vehicles, would result in products that are more competitive with foreign brands.
In the same survey, eighty-four percent of respondents felt that the US auto industry is in major trouble. Michigan already has the highest unemployment rate in the country, and the state legislature is facing another $1 billion dollars in cuts to balance the budget this year. In addition, school districts in the state are facing over $300 million in mid-school year funding cuts. It looks like people in Michigan think John Dingell needs to back off on trying to stop fuel efficiency increases, and actually push back against the industry he has defended in Congress for over fifty years.