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Poll: Majority of CO Voters Back Fuel-Efficiency Standards

The transportation sector is the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. (Getty Images)
The transportation sector is the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. (Getty Images)
October 25, 2017

DENVER - As the Trump administration takes steps to roll back the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, a majority of Coloradans - including 59 percent of Trump voters - support making vehicles more fuel efficient, according to a new poll.

Garrett Garner-Wells, director of Environment Colorado, said voters understand that when vehicles get more miles per gallon, they end up paying less at the pump.

"We're not only tackling one of the number one threats to our climate here in Colorado and beyond," he said, "but the typical Colorado family would save $2,700 a year by 2030, thanks to these standards."

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the CAFE standards also are projected to reduce climate pollution by 280 tons by 2030. Wells said this would be good news for the 400,000 people with asthma in Colorado, who are frequently at risk becaise of elevated smog and ozone levels.

The auto industry has welcomed rolling back standards, arguing that low gas prices have made it harder to reach CAFE goals because drivers have less incentive to switch from SUVs to electric vehicles.

Elizabeth Sena, a partner with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the firm that conducted the poll, said that in five so-called "swing states" including Colorado, a combined 73 percent of registered voters want to see cars get at least 40 miles per gallon by 2025, even if it means their new vehicle could cost a little more.

"Regardless of demographics - millennials and seniors alike, men and women, whites and people of color, across partisanship - there really is support," she said.

In August, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt reopened the CAFE standards for review, which could be a first step for rolling them back.

The poll, commissioned by the Sierra Club, NextGen America and the Natural Resources Defense Council, is online at sierraclub.org. The UCS data is at ucsusa.org.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO