The survey found that reducing dependence on foreign oil is a top priority for Americans, who give much less credit to domestic automakers versus their Japanese counterparts when it comes to meeting that challenge.
"The survey shows broad support for continued partnership between government and industry in the development of a hydrogen economy, an effort that GM has been aggressively pursuing with the U.S. Department of Energy and numerous corporate and research partners," said Lowery, who addressed association members. "But while the survey shows that Americans support the same goals that are at the heart of GM's overall advanced technology strategy for improving efficiency, it's troubling what little credit we're getting. Clearly we've got our work cut out for us in communicating GM's accomplishments and our commitment to developing advanced technologies."
The desire for U.S. energy independence ranked much higher than other considerations presented to survey respondents, including increasing fuel efficiency, reducing pollution and emissions, and keeping fuel costs low. Specifically:
- When asked what the most important goal of U.S. energy policy should be, 43% said "reducing dependence on foreign oil" -- much higher than "improving the fuel efficiency of vehicles" (20%), "reducing pollution and harmful emissions" (19%) and "keeping fuel costs low" (15%).
- When asked the main reason why automakers need to develop alternative technologies, 49% cited "energy independence" compared to 29% who cited "environmental" reasons and 17% who cited "economic" reasons.
The public embraces the development of new technologies and alternative fuels that will produce more energy-efficient vehicles, and sees hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as the best solution to reducing gas consumption and emissions. For that reason, a majority favors government support of hydrogen development. Specifically:
- 79% of respondents described advances in automotive technology as "absolutely critical" or "very important."
- A plurality (29%) described hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles as those with the best chance for long-term success, compared to 23% for hybrids and 18% for traditional gas-powered engines.
- 65% of Americans believe that the U.S. government should make a major funding commitment to transform the auto industry from a gasoline-based system to a hydrogen-based system.
The nationwide telephone survey of a representative cross-section of 1,004 adults, conducted June 17-20, 2005, explored Americans' attitudes toward U.S. energy policy and emerging automotive technologies. The survey has an overall margin of error of +3.1%.