Americans Demand Better Fuel Economy

Auto industry remains in consumer crosshairs.

| February 18, 2008

Automakers, take heed – even your employees want more fuel-efficient cars. A recent survey shows 60 percent of Michigan residents say the industry is not offering the best available technology, including improved fuel efficiency. According to the survey, conducted by Civil Society Institute, that was the biggest problem facing today’s auto industry.

The survey included households – 31 percent – in which one or more people are involved in the industry. The respondents said the second biggest problem is an over-emphasis on production of vehicles with poor fuel efficiency, like SUVs (with 59 percent responding yes) and the third biggest problem, said 53 percent of those responding, is the poor U.S. auto industry vision and leadership.

Co-op America, a nonprofit founded in 1982, urges consumers to write automakers to express their wish that the manufacturers devote more resources to mass-producing a plug-in hybrid and using already available technology to produce a vehicle capable of 100 miles per gallon.

“Consumer demand continues to grow for fuel efficient plug-in hybrid vehicles,” says Yochanan Zakai, climate change program coordinator for Co-op America. “But for year after year, automakers continue to display concept cars inside auto shows. We call on domestic automakers to keep their assembly lines open and meet consumer demand by mass-producing plug-in hybrids before 2010.”

Automakers have been promoting corn-based ethanol as a solution to global warming and energy security. Co-op America says ethanol-based cars are less fuel efficient and can produce more global warming emissions than gasoline-fueled cars. Producing ethanol takes energy, water and land on which to grow the corn, and using corn for fuel may take food away from the world’s poorest peoples, according to Co-op America.

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