WASHINGTON – The Consumer Federation of America recently conducted a nationwide survey of 2,000 individuals and found that a majority (85 percent) are concerned about gas prices and believe it’s important to increase fuel-economy standards (75 percent). Even more people surveyed (87 percent) believe it’s important to reduce oil consumption.

One of the surprising findings is that most Republicans and Democrats surveyed (64 percent) agree that the federal government should require car companies to meet an average 60-mpg standard by 2025 with what the news release said is a “five-year payback period,” where the increased up-front cost of a vehicle is paid for in fuel savings within five years.

Survey respondents indicated support for the following policies:

  • The federal government requiring car companies to meet a 60 mpg standard by 2025 (62 percent vs. 32 percent).
  • A federally-set 60 mpg standard with a five-year payback period (64 percent vs. 30 percent).
  • State governments being permitted to continue setting vehicle emissions standards (65 percent vs. 31 percent).

“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 $2,000 in 2009 to more than $3,000 this year,” said Mark Cooper, CFA’s research director and energy expert. “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. And among independent technical experts, there is a growing consensus that committed car companies could meet these higher standards.”

Despite the fact that this is a consumer-focused survey, it shows broad support for higher fuel economy standards, reduced emissions, and government mandates at the state and federal levels, all of which will affect how fleets operate.

One interesting finding in the survey is that the number of vehicles getting better than 30 mpg increased from 14 models in 2008 to 60 in 2011. In addition, the CFA found consumers are purchasing those vehicles. In 2008, the CFA found the percentage of cars purchased with greater than 30 mpg among the top 100 selling vehicles was 6 percent. In 2011, that percentage increased to 15 percent.

A copy of the study can be downloaded at: www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/CFA-Auto-Standard-Report-May-16-2011.pdf