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Poll: Michigan Voters Back Fuel-Efficiency Standards

Improvements in fuel efficiency already are paying off at the gas pump. (runron/morguefile)
Improvements in fuel efficiency already are paying off at the gas pump. (runron/morguefile)
October 25, 2017

DETROIT - Michiganders know a thing or two about cars, and a new poll finds a sizable majority of people in the state want their cars to run cleaner and more efficiently.

According to the poll, 73 percent of Michigan voters support requiring the auto industry to continue meeting increased fuel-efficiency standards and reducing tailpipe emissions for new cars, minivans, SUVs and pickup trucks.

Elizabeth Sena, a partner at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the group that conducted the poll, said that support crosses many lines.

"It's true across the demographics within the state, but I think, most importantly, it's true across partisanship," she said, "and it maintains support and has support, even among Trump voters."

The clean-car standards were finalized in 2012 and reviewed in 2016, but the Trump administration has reopened the standards for review, which many fear could be the first step toward rolling them back.

The poll was conducted in four other states - Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia - and found equally strong support for the standards in all of them.

It's estimated that the move toward greater fuel efficiency already has saved drivers $48 billion at the gas pump, and automakers say they are meeting the standards more quickly and affordably than expected. Carol Browner, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and director of the White House Office of Climate Change and Energy, said she's seen a huge disconnect between Detroit and Washington.

"You see car companies announcing a commitment to cleaner cars," she said, "and yet, you have the head of the EPA - who apparently doesn't believe in science or follow the law - saying we should just roll back these standards. It just makes no sense."

Sena said she finds it ironic that in all the states polled, about half of those who said they voted for Donald Trump in 2016 support increased fuel-efficiency standards.

"The president that they voted for, who is attacking these standards - it's his voters that actually support increasing fuel-efficiency standards," she said, "even if it means their new vehicle could cost a little more."

In addition to dramatically cutting oil and gas consumption, the fuel-efficiency standards are projected to reduce carbon pollution by 280 million metric tons by 2030.

The poll is online at sierraclub.org.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI