Poll: Utahns Ready to Embrace Fuel Efficient Cars

Poll: Utahns Ready to Embrace Fuel Efficient Cars

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John Daley ReportingWhether motivated by global warming, high gas prices or the US dependence on foreign oil, one thing is clear: Utahns seem ready to embrace fuel-efficient vehicles. That's according to an exclusive new poll for KSL-TV and the Deseret Morning News.

On this busiest of all travel holiday weekends, in a year which witnessed record high gas prices, Salt Lake resident Julien Puzey has no big complaints. She recently swapped a Chevy pickup getting 18 miles per gallon on the freeway for a used Toyota Echo getting 47 mpg.

Julien Puzey, Fuel-Efficient Motorist: "The less we're dependent on foreign oil of course the better off we are."

Like most car-buyers, her decision wasn't simple. On her mind was saving money, a war in an oil-rich region, and the state of the environment.

Julien Puzey: “Global warming, climate change, all of that is on there and also I have trouble breathing when the inversion sets in. I think we've been very unfair to living things with our petroleum-based economy."

She's not alone. A new poll by Dan Jones and Associates for KSL TV finds Utahns not only think automakers should make cars more fuel-efficient, but they're ready to buy one the next time around.

Congress recently passed a new energy bill that did little to improve fuel efficiency. We asked 400 Utahns, should Congress require automakers to make vehicles more fuel efficient? 81% say Yes, 17% say No.

When asked do you plan to buy a more fuel-efficient car the next time a majority, 75%, say Yes while 18% say No.

When asked who's most responsible for the lack of change in fuel-efficiency standards, Utahns say automakers and consumers, then oil companies and Congress.

Beverly Miller heads a local energy-efficiency group.

Beverly Miller, Director, Utah Clean Cities: "I think we have turned a corner in attitude, in need. I think people should not only believe that, but embrace it."

Julien Puzey: "I think it's really an exciting time because we really are on the edge of another way, of doing it better. I don't think it's so much about me leading, as much as it's about what are we leaving for someone who is following?"

Puzey says conservation is simply a good idea, not just for this holiday, but for all the holidays to come.

Our Dan Jones poll also asked if the increases in gas and home heating costs will affect your holiday shopping budget. A majority, 57% say Yes. 43% say No.

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