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Poll Finds Wide Support for Fuel-Efficiency Standards in VA, Other States

A new poll finds federal fuel-efficiency rules are very popular in five politically important states. (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research)
A new poll finds federal fuel-efficiency rules are very popular in five politically important states. (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research)
October 25, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. - Voters in five states including Virginia strongly favor federal rules to increase fuel efficiency for cars and trucks, according to a new poll.

The Trump administration has started the process of rolling back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, arguing that reducing regulation would bring growth to the auto industry. However, Elizabeth Sena, a partner with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, said her group polled registered voters in Virginia and four other states, and nearly three-quarters favor keeping the CAFE standards.

"We have 73 percent of registered voters who favor increasing fuel-efficiency standards so that cars get 40 miles per gallon," she said. "This ranges from a high of 78 percent in Colorado to 68 percent in Virginia."

Sena said their survey found that even Republicans support the rules for greater fuel efficiency, and there's even support among people who voted for Donald Trump.

Carmakers sometimes will argue that the CAFE standards are too difficult or expensive to meet. However, Carol Browner, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator and director of the White House Office of Climate Change and Energy, said they've made that argument for decades and always have been wrong in the past.

"We have the technology. We have the know-how," she said. "You'll have a cleaner car, you'll have a more efficient car. All that's good news for the consumer, who's getting cleaner air and a tank of gas that goes further."

By one estimate, the CAFE standards would end up saving a two-car family $3,500 over the life of their vehicles.

The poll, which was conducted among registered voters in Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, is online at sierraclub.org.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA