Poll: Voters want fuel economy, ethanol, hydrogen

WASHINGTON, DC, June 7, 2004 (ENS): Doing more to conserve energy by improving fuel economy in cars and trucks is the best way to lower gas prices, a majority of Americans surveyed in a new national poll believes. Sixty-five percent of those questioned preferred energy conservation as the best alternative.

The survey of likely voters last week by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that 59 percent favor reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and 53 percent favor investing more in alternative sources of fuel like ethanol and hydrogen.

"Short-term fixes, like using the strategic petroleum reserve or drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge do not adequately address the problem in the eyes of most voters," the NRDC concluded from the survey results.

The most important factors behind the increased price of gasoline in the eyes of the likely voters surveyed are oil companies (24 percent), dependence on foreign oil (18 percent), conflict in the Middle East (12 percent) and OPEC (11 percent).

Forty-seven percent of those questioned think penalizing oil companies and gas stations that gouge the public would help keep prices down, and 29 percent think pressuring OPEC to increase production of fuel is a good idea.

Only 24 percent believe a solution is increasing domestic oil production, including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and 18 percent would like to use oil from the strategic petroleum reserve.

Fifty-nine percent favored the NRDC's "Break the Chain" plan, and 26 percent were opposed.

"Under this plan, the government would raise fuel efficiency standards for cars, trucks and SUVs, increase production of hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell cars and use more renewable fuels such as ethanol.

Supporters say the Break the Chain plan will reduce dependence on foreign oil, reduce global warming and create jobs for the future, saving almost twice as much oil as America imports from the Middle East today. Opponents say Break the Chain will force Americans to drive smaller, unsafe cars, will cost billions of dollars and will destroy manufacturing jobs.

Tax breaks for drivers who buy hybrid cars, which combines a gasoline-powered engine with an electric motor to provide increased gas mileage and lower carbon dioxide emissions, met with the favor of 67 percent of those polled.

Tax credits to car manufacturers to build and market hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell cars was approved by 64 percent.


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