Photo: Flickr, CC
We'll Really Appreciate the Foresight in 15 YearsAs we recently mentioned, a group of environmental organizations (the NRDC, the Sierra Club, and Environment America, etc) are pushing the Obama administration to increase the fuel economy targets for the US fleet to 60 miles per gallon (MPG) by 2025. To show the white house that such a move would have popular backing, they've commissions a national survey of US voters. So how did John Q. Public respond to the idea?
ResultsThe survey was conducted by the Mellman Group. The main finding is that "74% of likely voters favor having the federal government require the auto industry to increase average fuel efficiency...to 60 miles per gallon by the year 2025." Even better, that number only drops to 66% if you tell the likely voters that this would add $3000 (more on that below) to the cost of a new car.
- 78% favored regulations requiring the auto industry to reduce CO2 emissions from light duty vehicles.
- 88% said is was important for the US to take action now to increase fuel efficiency.
- Were a more stringent fuel economy standard to be implemented, 63% said it was likely the cost of vehicles will increase too much.
- If President Obama were to implement a 60 mpg by 2025 rule, 28% of respondents would feel more favorable toward him, while 14% would feel less favorable. If Obama refused to implement a 60 mpg standard, 13% would view him more favorably, while 25% would view him less favorably. Overall, 51% of respondents view Obama favorably, 44% unfavorably.
One problem with that is that they asked "Would you favor or oppose that proposal if it added $3,000 to the price of a new car in the year 2025?" and didn't factor in inflation. But chances are that the average person answered the question thinking of the value of current dollars and didn't whip out the calculator to see what kind of purchasing power $3000 would have in 2025 based on a variety of inflation curves. It's a flaw in the methodology of the survey, but it still gives us an idea of what people think.
Take Away From All This
There's always a difference between what people will tell you on the phone and what they will do with their hard-earned dollars. The real numbers right now are probably a bit lower. BUT, it seems very likely that if in the next decade fuel prices spike in the USA, support for such a measure would also increase. The US still has very cheap gasoline, and yet there's decent support for more stringent fuel economy measures. What if a gallon of gas started to cost $4, $5 or $6? Or more..?
Better to act now than to wait for that to happen. The environment will thank us, and our wallets will also appreciate the foresight.
Methodology note: The survey had a sample size of 1,000 and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%. It was conducted via telephone between 8-13 September.
Via UCSUSA (pdf), GCC
More on Green(er) Transportation
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Copenhagen's SUVs (aka Cargo Bikes)