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May 18, 2011

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

I saw these headlines and suddenly the old song from Sesame Street hit me - one of these things is not like the other! It doesn't take a genius to figure this one out:

7 in 10 Americans say high gas prices hurt

Poll: With gas prices high, Americans want 60 m.p.g. fuel efficiency
Automakers group asks White House to say no to 62 mpg standard

The gas station down the street from Sierra Club's office has prices up to $4.59 per gallon, and that's not much different from the averages around the U.S. So it's not surprising that a USA Today survey shows that almost seven of 10 Americans report that prices at the pump are causing financial hardship.

And yet we see the auto industry fighting better gas mileage standards, even though the high efficiency cars are its best sellers.  Just this week Consumer Federation released a survey that shows overwhelming public support for a 60 mpg fuel efficiency standard in 2025.

This new survey backs up an earlier poll (PDF) not only showing Americans strongly support a 60 mpg standard by 2025, they are willing to pay more for fuel them. That's why the Sierra Club is part of the Go60MPG coalition - we believe better vehicle fuel efficiency is the right way forward.

The automakers seem to prefer to fall back on old ways, sending a letter to the Obama Administration raising a red flag on strong standards. Their arguments are rebutted well by my colleague at NRDC.

I've got more on this issue over in my National Journal column - which I wrote in response to former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm's piece asking what to do about high gas prices.

-- Ann Mesnikoff, Director of the Sierra Club's Green Transportation Campaign


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