Majority of Americans support alt-fuel requirements — poll

Source: Jason Plautz, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A majority of Americans would fill their cars’ gasoline tanks with fuels that include domestically produced ethanol, and more than 60 percent support a government requirement that mandates more ethanol and renewable fuel production, according to a poll released today by the Renewable Fuels Association.

The poll, conducted by American Viewpoint, also found 69 percent of those polled opposed tax incentives for oil companies.

Fifty-eight percent of those polled said they would be likely to purchase a fuel that includes domestic ethanol, such as E15, when it is available, the poll found. Seventy-five percent said they favored requiring automobile manufacturers to build cars that run on alternative fuels or electricity.

While the latest fuel economy standards are expected to increase the share of alternative vehicles, there is no current requirement for production of such cars.

The findings also show strong support for government policies increasing the share of ethanol, with 61 percent of those polled saying they supported the federal renewable fuel standard, which requires that 36 billion gallons of fuel come from alternative sources by 2022.

The RFS has come under fire from critics who say the standard will have negative environmental impacts and will raise prices on feedstock, food and fuel. The ethanol requirement has been the target of several bills that would restrict it or tie it to corn supply, but the industry group said the poll results show there is support from the public to stay the course.

“Poll after poll consistently demonstrates that Americans of all stripes believe we must be pursuing the production and use of renewable fuels to reduce our dependence on imported oil,” RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen said in a statement.

“By protecting the RFS, supporting the breakthrough of advanced and cellulosic ethanol production, and expanding renewable fuel options through greater ethanol blends like E15 at the pump, Congress can respond to the will of the American people and begin creating a more secure and stable energy future,” Dinneen added.

The poll also found that 65 percent were in favor of incentives for the production of cellulosic ethanol.

The findings are set to be officially released tomorrow at RFA’s Washington Legislative Forum. The poll was commissioned by RFA and conducted by phone between March 27 and 29, with a sample size of 1,000 and a margin of error of 3.1 percent.