- June 7 - American voters strongly favor requiring car companies to make sport
utility vehicles (SUVs) and minivans meet strict air pollution standards. Nearly
nine out of ten voters (88 percent) agree that car companies should be required
to make these vehicles meet the same strict air pollution standards as passenger
cars. Seventy-six percent strongly agree with the idea.
The survey also reveals
that voters overwhelmingly support cleaner gasoline nationwide. A vast majority
of voters also are willing to pay the up to 2 cents more per gallon of cleaner
gasoline that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates it will
The survey results were
released as the U.S. EPA begins conducting public hearings on proposed new clean
gasoline and clean car standards. The new standards cover sport utility vehicles,
minivans and pickup trucks. Hearings will be held June 9 and 10 in Philadelphia,
June 11 in Atlanta, June 15 in Denver and June 17 in Cleveland.
"American voters overwhelmingly
support the EPA clean air proposal," said Ernest P. Franck, president of the American
Lung Association. "The survey shows strong public support for fairness. SUVs should
have to follow the same air pollution rules as passenger cars. The public is demanding
that EPA close the loophole that allows SUVs to pollute more."
Franck noted that the auto
industry is pushing to continue special SUV loopholes to avoid or postpone air
pollution clean up. In addition, much of the oil industry opposes strong national
clean gasoline standards and wants to allow dirtier, higher-sulfur gasoline, especially
in the West
"We have already experienced
smog problems this summer, demonstrating that dirty air remains a national health
problem, requiring national solutions," Franck said.
Pollster Celinda Lake, who
conducted the survey, noted, "Even owners of SUVs and minivans agree their vehicles
should meet the same strict standards as passenger cars (85 percent agree, including
69 percent strongly agree, for SUV owners; 83 percent agree, including 70 percent
strongly agree for minivan owners). Nine out of ten women (92 percent) also support
SUVs meeting strict standards."
Franck noted that removing
most of the sulfur from gasoline is critical because it will make the operation
of cars and other vehicles much cleaner because sulfur impedes the performance
of pollution control equipment. EPA experts predict the cleanup could cost oil
companies 1 to 2 cents per gallon.
The Lung Association survey
found that 83 percent of respondents are willing to pay up to 2 cents more per
gallon of gasoline if it would produce significantly less pollution. A majority
of voters (51 percent) are willing to pay up to 5 cents more per gallon for cleaner
American voters reject oil
industry proposal for a regional gasoline program," Franck added. "Eighty four
percent of voters believe cleaner gasoline is needed across the country because
it makes the air cleaner everywhere. Only nine percent believe cleaner gasoline
should only be required in the Eastern half of the country and in California."
Lake noted that support
crosses regional boundaries with support strongest in the South and Northeast
(87 percent and 86 percent respectively) followed closely by the Midwest and West
(83 percent and 81 percent respectively).
The findings are based on
a nationwide poll of 800 adults, 18 years of age or older, who are registered
to vote, conducted between May 20-24, 1999, by Lake Snell Perry & Associates.
The margin of error is plus/minus 3.5 percent.
The American Lung Association has been fighting lung disease for more than 90
years. With the generous support of the public and the help of our volunteers,
we have seen many advances against lung disease. However, our work is not finished.
As we look forward to our second century, we will continue to strive to make breathing
easier for everyone. Along with our medical section, the American Thoracic Society,
we provide programs of education, community service, advocacy and research. The
American Lung Association's activities are supported by donations to Christmas
Seals and other voluntary contributions. You may obtain additional information
via our America Online site, keyword: ALA, or our web site at http://www.lungusa.org.