For Americans, Does Fuel Efficiency and Patriotism Go Hand in Hand?

In a recent poll conducted on behalf of the nonpartisan Civil Society Institute, two-thirds of participants, representing a wide socioeconomic and geographic range of Americans, said they considered driving a more fuel-efficient car to be patriotic in light of increasing U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil reserves.

The debate over vehicle fuel efficiency rages on, as these bumper stickers suggest.

In the survey of more than 1,000 adults in private U.S. households, 57 percent of self-described conservatives considered the purchase of a fuel-efficient vehicle to be patriotic, with 67 percent of NASCAR racing fans concurring as well. The poll also showed that nine out of 10 Americans agreed on the importance of government action to reach a 40-mile-per-gallon fuel efficiency level for American cars, both for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing dependence on foreign crude sources.

Meanwhile, a lobbying group for the automakers, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, has launched a print ad campaign on behalf of its membership declaring that “autos manufactured today are virtually emission-free” and touting the progress of the industry over the last three decades in engineering away tailpipe pollution.

The advocacy-oriented Union of Concerned Scientists calls the ads misleading. The group conceded that cars manufactured today are cleaner than those produced 30 years ago when there were no controls on tailpipe emissions whatsoever. But it said that the sheer growth in the number of cars on the road, coupled with sub-par emission standards, means that American drivers are causing more smog and carbon dioxide pollution than ever.

Source: and