Study: Fewer than third of consumers support fuel economy rollback

By Autolist Analytics Team

(August 23, 2018) Fewer than a third of consumers agree with the proposal by the Trump administration to roll back fuel efficiency standards in the U.S., according to a recent study by Just 29 percent of those polled said they agreed with the Aug. 2 recommendation by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation.

Forty-one percent of respondents said they disagreed with the proposal; 30 percent were neutral or undecided.

In a seismic shift of U.S. policy, the Trump administration in early August announced a proposal to freeze fuel economy standards and revoke California’s ability to set its own emissions requirements, a dramatic reversal of one of President Obama’s signature climate achievements.

While many automakers have been quietly advocating for fuel economy standards set by the previous administration to be relaxed, the move to prevent California from setting its own emissions standards and requirements for electric vehicles is widely expected to set off a lengthy court battle between California, the states that follow its guidelines and the federal government.

The Trump administration’s recommendation would freeze mile-per-gallon standards for cars and light trucks after 2020. It would also seek to revoke California’s waiver, which allows it to set individual emissions standards and mandates for electric vehicle sales.

A final decision is expected this winter.

Half of the consumers polled by Autolist said they believed states like California should be allowed to set stricter emissions standards than the federal government, something the state has been doing since 2009. Thirteen other states and Washington D.C. follow California’s emissions standards.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents said states should not have this power; the remaining 21 percent said they were undecided.

Autolist’s study found no distinct correlation between where people lived and how they felt about the Trump administration’s proposal; respondents in California and the 13 ZEV states were no more or less likely to favor the recommendation than people who lived in the remaining states.

Autolist surveyed 1,132 current car shoppers for the study shortly after news of the proposal was announced in early August.