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Survey finds support for higher fuel economy mandates

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May 17, 2011 — A recent Consumer Federation of America survey of 2,000 Americans found that the vast majority are concerned about gas prices and in favor of federal mandates to increase fuel economy standards.

The survey, published in a study on gas prices, found that 85 percent of respondents were concerned about the price of gas, 87 percent thought it was important to reduce oil consumption and 75 percent thought fuel economy standards should be increased. Most Republicans and Democrats surveyed agreed that the government should require car companies to meet an average 60 miles-per-gallon standard by 2025.

A bump in annual household gas expenditures from $2,000 in 2009 to more than $3,000 this year is driving consumer thinking, said Mark Cooper, the federation’s research director and energy expert.

“Pain at the pump, along with the country’s oil import dependence, has produced a growing consensus that the federal government should substantially increase fuel economy standards,” Cooper said. “And among independent technical experts, there is a growing consensus that committed car companies could meet these higher standards.”

The consumer concerns come at a time when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are considering standards to improve vehicle emissions and fuel economy, according to the foundation. One proposal would bring fuel efficiency of light duty vehicles to more than 60 miles-per-gallon by 2025.

Automakers have increased the production of fuel-efficient vehicles in recent years and consumers have been willing to buy those cars, said Jack Gillis, automotive author and director of public affairs for the foundation.

“In addition, significant fuel economy improvements are well within the reach of the car companies, even though they profess the near impossibility of attaining the fuel efficiency demanded by today’s beleaguered car buyer,” he said.

Find a full copy of the recent study here.

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