Poll: Fewer than a third of new-car shoppers agree with Trump's emissions rollback

August 23, 2018

Fewer than one-third of new-car shoppers agree with the Trump administration's plan to freeze fuel-economy targets for the next five years, according to a survey released Tuesday by Autolist.

Just 29 percent of more than 1,000 respondents said that they agreed with the president's plan to freeze emissions and efficiency levels from 2020 to 2026, according to the survey. More than 40 percent disagreed with the proposed rollback and 30 percent were undecided.

Earlier this month, officials from the EPA and the NHTSA announced a broad rollback of an Obama-era policy that set increasing mileage standards for new cars and trucks sold in America. The revised Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard set in 2012 would have required an adjusted average of 54.5 mpg for vehicle manufacturers by 2025. Credits and technology incentives lowered that standard for automakers to around 40 mpg in real-world mileage, although many said even that was an unrealistic average. 

In its proposal to freeze fuel-economy standards at 2020 levels, Trump administration officials said light-weighting cars and trucks to comply with the increasing fuel-economy standards would result in more fatal crashes on the road. Additionally, the cost of bringing new cars to market with fuel-efficient technology would cost consumers nearly $2,000 per car, which officials said was an unreasonable burden.

According to the Autolist survey, where the respondents lived had no bearing on their opinion on the fuel-efficiency rollback.

Half of the shoppers polled said California and other states should have the right to set their own emissions standards—something the Trump administration has proposed revoking—while 29 percent supported the administration's proposal for a single, lower standard. California has set its own emissions levels for decades, and 12 other states including the District of Columbia have adopted the state's more stringent standards.

The final fuel-economy rules will be finalized this winter, although many have suggested that the proposal faces a long, uphill battle in the courts.

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