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POLL: Small Biz Supports Fuel Efficiency Standards for Light-duty Vehicles

November 14, 2011

Small business owners across the country — including those in the automotive states of Michigan, Ohio and California — support strengthening fuel efficiency and carbon emissions standards for cars, light trucks and SUVs by large margins, according to a new opinion poll released Nov. 14 by Small Business Majority.

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, found that 87 percent of small business owners believe it is important to take action to increase fuel efficiency in cars and light trucks, and 78 percent favor standards that require the auto industry to reduce carbon emissions from cars, pickup trucks, minivans and SUVs.

“Small business owners understand that strong fuel efficiency standards will help them save money in their own business and create new market opportunities overall,” said John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority, a national nonpartisan small business advocacy organization. “They can then use the money saved on gas to reinvest in their businesses and hire more workers — something our state’s economy desperately needs right now.” (This goes right along with a September poll from Small Business Majority.)

Conversely, one business owner in the conference call that announced the poll’s results said that better fuel economy would also give customer’s more freedom to spend. “It's going to leave more money in our customers' pockets after they go to the pump, which means they'll have more discretionary money to spend on retail goods like ours,” said Zachary Davis, owner of The Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz., Calif.
 
Across the United States, 71 percent of small business owners agree that U.S. automakers don’t innovate enough, and 73 percent believe the federal government should do more to make car companies innovate.

Support from small businesses for increasing fuel economy standards is also high in states with large auto manufacturing sectors, including Michigan (73 percent) and Ohio (75 percent). There is also strong support (71 percent) in the influential automotive market of California, which is preparing to update its clean cars program aimed at reducing carbon emissions from cars sold in the state.

“Higher fuel standards would allow me to expand my business immediately, and they would boost my employees’ spending power as consumers,” said Jonathan Tobias, owner of Michigan Green Cabs in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “In my industry, employees pay for the fuel that powers the vehicles I supply. If I could give drivers more fuel efficient cars, they'd be lining up to work for me, since they'd net more pay than they would elsewhere.”

Summary of Poll Findings
A majority of small business owners believe it is important to increase fuel efficiency in cars and light trucks:

• 87% nationwide
• 80% in California
• 81% in Michigan
• 86 in OH

A majority of small business owners favor requiring the auto industry to increase the average fuel efficiency standards for all new cars, light trucks and SUVs to 60 miles per gallon by 2025—an even stronger standard than the one the Obama Administration is announcing:

• 80% nationwide
• 80% in California
• 72% in Michigan
• 78% in Ohio

A majority of small business owners favor standards that require the auto industry to reduce carbon emissions from cars, pickup trucks, minivans and SUVs:

• 78% nationwide
• 75% in California
• 73% in Michigan
• 76% in Ohio

A majority of small businesses agree that American car companies do not innovate enough:

• 71% nationwide
• 65% California
• 54% Michigan
• 54% Ohio

A majority of small businesses agree that the federal government should do more to make American car companies innovate:

• 73% nationwide
• 79% in California
• 58% in Michigan
• 67% in Ohio

Poll results in this statement represent findings from an Internet survey of 1,257 small business owners nationwide conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for Small Business Majority, +/- 2.76% margin of error. Politically, more than 40% of respondents said they were Independent, with Republicans making up the second-largest political affiliation of survey participants.

For more information visit: http://www.smallbusinessmajority.org/energy/index_national.php

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