Majority of Americans Want Congress to Impose 40MPG Standard

Poll Finds 90 Percent Expect Much Higher Gas Prices Soon, Almost Half Now More Likely to Buy Hybrid or Other Fuel-Efficient Vehicle; Americans Want Washington to Help Big 3, But Don't Let Carmakers Off the Hook for Past Mistakes

Published: 22-Nov-2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 -- Will the Big 3 automakers blow it for a second time by misreading an American public that is expecting gasoline prices to start soaring again soon? As President Bush and Congress continue to huddle with Detroit vehicle manufacturers, a strong and bipartisan 78 percent of Americans want Washington to impose a 40 mile per gallon (MPG) fuel-efficiency standard for American vehicles, according to a new Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) national opinion survey to be released on November 21, 2006 by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI).

Other key findings of the ORC survey include the following:

Civil Society Institute President and Founder Pam Solo said: "These findings should be a real wake-up call to any auto executive in Detroit who is hoping against hope that Americans will fall back in love with gas-hog vehicles. What Americans are saying to American carmakers is that they are ready for change. We know the technology exists for higher fuel efficiency that will save money, reduce this nation's dependence on foreign oil and diminish the pollution linked to global warming. What Detroit needs to realize is that low gas prices have not -- and will not -- lead to the demise of the now very strong and continuing demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles. If American carmakers make that wrong-headed gamble for a second time, it may just be the last losing bet they can afford to make."

Opinion Research Corporation Vice President Wayne Russum said: "It's official: Reducing America's dependence on foreign oil through tougher fuel efficiency standards is a bona fide national security issue that cuts right across political party lines. Respondents were asked: 'Given America's dependence on foreign oil, do you agree or disagree that greater fuel efficiency for cars, SUVs and trucks is in our national security interests?' Four out of five respondents agreed, including half who did so strongly. Interestingly, the national security issued resonated even more with Republicans (82 percent) than it did with Independents (77 percent) and Democrats (79 percent)."

DETAILED SURVEY FINDINGS

Other key results of the Opinion Research Corporation survey conducted for the Civil Society Institute include the following:

For full survey findings, go to http://www.civilsocietyinstitute.org on the Web.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted among a sample of 1,016 adults (509 men and 507 women) age 18 and over, living in private households, in the continental United States. Interviewing by ORC was completed during the period of November 9-12, 2006. Completed interviews of the 1,016 adults were weighted by four variables: age, sex, geographic region, and race, to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total adult population. The margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the sample of 1,016 adults. Smaller sub-groups will have larger error margins.

ABOUT CSI

The nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (http://www.civilsocietyinstitute.org) is a think tank that serves as a catalyst for change by creating problem-solving interactions among people, and between communities, government and business that can help to improve society. CSI has conducted more than a dozen major surveys since 2003 on energy issues, including vehicle fuel-efficiency standards, global warming and renewables. CSI is the parent organization of 40mpg.org (http://www.40mpg.org) and the Hybrid Owners of America (http://www.hybridownersofamerica.org).

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