Americans want 60 m.p.g. fuel efficiency image

Most Americans support a 60-mile-per-gallon fuel economy mandate, according to a report released Monday by a consumer group.

Findings from a national survey of 2,000 representative Americans by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), reveal that a “very large majority” (85 percent) are concerned about gas prices, 87 percent believe it’s important to reduce oil consumption and 85 percent say it’s important to increase fuel economy standards.
By roughly two-to-one margins, the nationwide survey found that Americans support:
—The federal government requiring automakers to meet a 60 mpg standard by 2025 (62 percent versus 32 percent).
—A federally-set 60 mpg standard with a five-year payback period (64 percent versus 30 percent).
—State governments being permitted to continue setting vehicle emissions standards (65 percent versus 31 percent).

“Cars would cost more, but respondent said they’d be willing to pay more as long as the higher purchase costs could be recouped in gas savings in 5 years.”

“Concern about volatile gasoline prices and support for higher standards is driven by the huge and rising bite gas expenditures are taking from household budgets—from less than $2000 in 2009 to more than $3000 this year,” said Mark Cooper, CFA’s research director and energy expert in a press release.
“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.”

Besides higher purchase prices to cover the cost of advanced powertrains, the current gas mileage targets going into effect in 2016 are forcing automakers to make cars smaller, lighters and less powerful.