New Poll: Voters Support Strong EPA Fuel Efficiency Standards

American Lung Association calls on EPA to keep stronger science-based fuel efficiency standards in place

Today, the American Lung Association released new poll results showing that voters overwhelmingly support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) current fuel efficiency standards for cars, SUVs and light trucks in model years 2022 to 2025, put in place by the previous Administration. When voters were presented with a balanced debate, including strong arguments that reflect the language being used by opponents of the standards, voter support for keeping the current standards only solidified. The poll results come as EPA is set to decide later this week whether to keep or weaken the current standards.

"Vehicles remain one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, so a reversal of these important standards would pose a grave threat to the health of Americans," said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. "The fact that voters' support for keeping the current standards intensifies after hearing from both sides of the debate further confirms that we need to protect what we already have in place."

Administered by Global Strategy Group, the poll showed that voters' support for maintaining the current fuel efficiency standards crosses party lines, with Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters all supporting keeping the standards. This support also extends across various demographic and regional groupings in the survey, including gender, age, education and race.

"The decision by EPA to reopen the review of the standards in the first place was unnecessary. An extensive public review was conducted by the previous Administration and found both that the standards were appropriate and that automakers could reasonably comply. Weakening the standards would put already vulnerable populations, such as children, older adults and people living with lung disease, at greater risk," added Wimmer.

Voters' support for current fuel efficiency standards aligns with their broad support for clean air laws and clean air enforcement agencies, as the poll also found that voters nationwide support EPA enforcing stronger health protections against air pollution and are overwhelmingly favorable to clean air policies.

Key findings from the poll include: 

  • Nearly 7 in 10 voters want EPA to leave current fuel efficiency standards in place, outnumbering those who think the standards should be weakened;
  • A majority of Democrats and Independents support maintaining the standards (79 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of Independents), as do a plurality of Republicans (48 percent support, 43 percent oppose);
  • After voters hear arguments from both sides of the debate, which include a strong argument from opponents of the standards, the support holds steady and even increases from 65 to 67 percent;
  • The intensity behind voters' support for the standards also increases after a balanced debate, from 48 percent to 51 percent who strongly support keeping the standards in place; and,
  • Voters nationwide are broadly favorable towards the Clean Air Act (65 percent) and EPA (59 percent), as well as EPA's efforts to enforce stricter limits on air pollution (61 percent support, including 48 percent strongly support).

"After voters heard arguments about the strong health benefits of maintaining the standards, and despite hearing counterarguments raising cost and safety claims, voters' support for the standards held and even intensified," said Andrew Baumann, Senior Vice President of Research at Global Strategy Group.

The current standards require automakers to make steady improvements to the fuel efficiency of cars, light trucks and SUVs through the year 2025.

The analysis memo from Global Strategy Group can be found online: Voters Overwhelmingly Support Strong Fuel Efficiency Standards


Global Strategy Group conducted a telephone survey from March 13th to 15th, 2018 among 800 registered voters nationwide. The margin of error is +/- 3.5% at the 95% confidence level and the margin of error for subgroups is greater.

For more information, contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]

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