Voters in America’s Auto & Manufacturing Heartland Want 60 MPG Fuel Economy Standard by 2025

1,600 likely Ohio and Michigan voters surveyed by the Mellman Group for Ceres, see job and national security benefits as well as big savings at the pump
May 25, 2011 1:45 PM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) Washington, D.C. - May 25, 2011 - A new poll of 800 likely Michigan voters and 800 likely Ohio voters found overwhelming and intense support for requiring the auto industry to increase average fuel economy to 60 miles per gallon by 2025 and reduce carbon dioxide pollution from new cars, pickup trucks, minivans and SUVs. The poll was conducted by The Mellman Group for Ceres from April 9-12.                        

“The American voter – the American consumer – is speaking loudly in these key states,” said Ceres President Mindy Lubber. “It isn’t just $4-a-gallon fatigue. These voters clearly recognize that our economic, environmental and national security futures are also rolled up in saving money at the pump and making America far more energy independent.”   The poll finds that robust support for a 60 miles per gallon standard extends across the political spectrum in Michigan and Ohio - the heart of America’s auto and manufacturing industry. Voters believe increased fuel efficiency will be good for the economy, job creation, reducing driving costs and boosting America’s national security by cutting our reliance on foreign oil.   Among the key findings:   Voters don’t believe the rhetoric that higher standards would cost jobs or hurt U.S. automakers. In fact, they believe increased efficiency will spur innovation and create jobs.
  • 80% of likely Ohio voters and 76% of likely Michigan voters believe a national 60 mpg standard will encourage American car makers to innovate, boosting sales and protecting American auto jobs.

Voter support remains strong even when higher vehicle costs are noted because likely voters believe increasing vehicle fuel efficiency will pay for itself.
  • 59% of likely voters in Ohio and 56% of likely voters in Michigan accurately believe any costs attached to increasing vehicle fuel efficiency will be outweighed by benefits—efficiency increases will pay for themselves.

"Michigan voters overwhelming support for higher fuel efficiency standards by 2025 matches what is technologically feasible," notes John DeCicco, a faculty fellow at the University of Michigan's Energy Institute. His report, "A Fuel Efficiency Horizon for US Automobiles," presented at an automotive engineering conference earlier this year, shows how optimal use of available and affordable technologies can push new fleet efficiency as high as 74 mpg given adequate lead time.   “Voters in these two presidential battleground states overwhelmingly support stronger vehicle standards because they believe higher standards will create American jobs and make US auto companies more competitive,” said Mark Mellman, President and CEO of The Mellman Group.  “This support cuts across traditional demographic, political and industrial boundaries.  This is a real and serious issue to voters, with supermajorities considering increased fuel efficiency not just an important issue, but a very important issue.”   Other key findings:   In Michigan – the heart of the American auto industry – likely voters overwhelmingly support the 60 mpg fuel efficiency standard.
  • 78% of likely Michigan voters say they support 60 mpg. This includes 58% who “strongly” support 60 mpg.

  • 68% of likely voters in Michigan auto industry households and 72% of likely voters in Michigan manufacturing households support 60 mpg.

In Ohio – another key auto manufacturing hub – likely voters overwhelmingly support 60 mpg and tougher pollution controls on new cars, pickup trucks, minivans, and SUV’s.
  • 79% of likely Ohio voters say they support 60 mpg. This includes 60% who “strongly” support 60 mpg.

  • 84% of likely voters in Ohio auto industry households and 74% of likely voters in Ohio manufacturing households support 60 mpg.

"It comes as no surprise that Ohioans overwhelmingly support stronger fuel economy standards for automobiles. Higher fuel economy standards will help create new jobs," said JD Staley Director of Sales and Marketing for Amp Electric.  The company is engaged in the emission-free electrification of specific OEM vehicles and has doubled its workforce in the last year to meet rising demand. It is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.   Staley added, "With Ohio’s manufacturing base and auto-industry roots, imagine what the potential is for a state like ours. "   Voters see increasing fuel efficiency as an urgent issue, the poll found.
  • 87% of likely voters in Michigan and 90% of likely voters in Ohio say it is “important” or “very important” to take action now to increase fuel efficiency.

Every group of likely voters across the political spectrum supports 60 mpg by wide margins; no group opposes it.   Michigan overwhelmingly supports 60 mpg:
  • Democrats (91% to 9%), Republicans (65% support, 31% oppose), and Independents (71% to 22%)

  • Conservatives (67% support, 29% oppose), moderates (76% to 19%), and liberals (92% to 7%)

  • Men and women, truck and SUV owners, likely voters from Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids— all support 60 mpg

Ohio overwhelmingly supports 60 mpg:
  • Democrats (89% to 8%), Republicans (68% support, 29% oppose), and Independents (77% to 18%)

  • Conservatives (69% support, 28% oppose), moderates (81% to 13%), and liberals (89% to 8%)

  • Men and women, truck and SUV owners, voters from auto industry households—all support 60 mpg

The new polling data comes as government agencies seek to develop new passenger vehicle fuel economy standards for the years 2017-2025. A 60 mpg average fuel economy by 2025 would mean increasing fuel economy by 6 percent a year over the current 2016 standard of 35 mpg. Proposed standards are expected to be released in September.   More details about the poll can be found at   About Ceres
Ceres leads a national coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change and water scarcity. To view more results and additional information, visit:   About The Mellman Group
Twice honored as "Pollster Of The Year" by The American Association Of Political Consultants, The Mellman Group has provided sophisticated opinion research and strategic advice to political leaders, government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, foundations, and leading public interest organizations for nearly thirty years.   Methodology notes: The Mellman Group surveyed 800 likely 2012 General Election voters in Michigan and 800 likely 2012 voters in Ohio, for polls commissioned by Ceres. Interviews were conducted April 9-12, 2011. Margin of error +/- 3.5% overall; higher for subgroups.   CERES14099