Washington, D.C. – The latest national poll from the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) poll finds robust bi-partisan support for strong fuel-economy standards through 2025, which Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reaffirmed today. The survey, conducted in December, found two-thirds of Donald Trump voters support strong fuel economy standards, which were also supported by four-fifths of Hillary Clinton voters.
“This is a pocketbook issue for American voters,” said Jack Gillis, CFA’s Director of Public Affairs and author of The Car Book. “Consumers across the board want more miles-per-gallon, and they understand that national standards provide automakers with sensible targets they otherwise might not achieve. Gas prices are low now, but they won’t always stay this low.”
As part of the scheduled mid-term review of the standards covering model years 2022 to 2025, the CFA submitted comments to the EPA outlining decades of polling, research and analysis showing that fuel efficiency standards benefit American consumers, and that the standards enjoy consistent bipartisan support.
“Energy efficiency policy has enjoyed a remarkable tradition of bipartisan support going back almost fifty years—whether we’re talking about more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, or energy-saving air conditioners and water heaters,” said Mark Cooper, CFA’s Director of Research. “Historically, efficiency targets are supported by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well. The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, the Energy Policy Conservation Act, and the Clean Air Act were all passed with bipartisan legislative support and were all signed into law by Republican presidents. Fuel economy standards are no different.”
“Staying the course on fuel efficiency is good news, because tampering with the standards would amount to a ‘give away’ to the oil companies, just as we are making real progress on reducing our domestic and foreign oil dependence,” said Gillis.
“We’ve been polling on this issue for over a decade, and we consistently find about three-quarters of Americans support strong miles-per-gallon standards,” Cooper said. “More efficient cars mean less money spent on gas. Consumers get it.”
Because low- and middle-class consumers spend a bigger portion of their income at the gas station, fuel-efficiency standards benefit these groups the most. According to CFA’s calculations, the average household spends about $1,500 a year on gasoline.
More than a dozen large automakers – including the Detroit Three– supported the 2012-2025 fuel economy targets when they were announced in 2011. But after Donald Trump won the Presidential election, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers began arguing for a roll back, citing business concerns.
Automakers are already on track to meet or exceed the fuel-economy targets that the agency reaffirmed today.
“Automakers and their suppliers have already invested in new efficiency technologies,” Cooper said. “The decision to stay the course on fuel economy targets positions them to remain competitive on the international market, where fuel economy is an especially important selling point. Along the way, they are creating jobs and strengthening the economy.”
Contact: Jack Gillis, 202-737-0766; Christina Heartquist, 415-453-0430
The Consumer Federation of America is an association of more than 250 non-profit consumer groups that, since 1968, has sought to advance the consumer interest through research, education, and advocacy.