According to a new poll conducted by Consumer Reports' National Research Center, an overwhelming majority of consumers believe fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks should be improved, and that the government should enforce those standards.
Nearly all respondents (93%) support increased fuel efficiency, the company says, while 77% agree that car manufacturers should produce more fuel-efficient vehicles and that the government should increase standards and enforce them.
In terms of vehicle technologies, over half (56%) 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.
‘Eighty-nine percent of consumers who are considering these hybrid and electric models cited lower fuel costs as one of their motivations for making the transition,’ says 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.’
Moreover, 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% of consumers responded that they were willing to pay extra if it would lower their operating costs.
Also, 80% 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 corporate average fuel economy standards recently announced by the White House.
‘Moving to a 54.5 mpg average by 2025 would save consumers thousands in fuel costs over the life of the vehicle,’ Champion says. ‘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.