Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Over Two Thirds of Michigan Autoworkers Support 40 MPG Rule, More Climate Curbs

More than two thirds of Michigan autoworker households (67 percent) and a slightly higher level of all households in the state (72 percent) say that Washington could "help U.S. automakers be more competitive by increasing the federal fuel-efficiency standard to 40 miles per gallon," according to new research from the Civil Society Institute (CSI)/ and a national opinion poll conducted for CSI by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC)..

More than four out of five (84 percent) of Michigan residents agree that "the U.S. auto industry is in major trouble and Michigan's economy will suffer seriously if the situation of the Big Three automakers gets even worse." Those in Michigan households linked a "great deal/somewhat" to the health of the auto industry are even more likely (89 percent) to see the industry as being in serious trouble today. A slim 11 percent of all state residents think that "despite current problems in the U.S. auto industry, Michigan's economy is unlikely to suffer very much since the Big Three automakers have a good plan for moving ahead."

Another key CSI/ survey finding: More than four out of five Michigan residents (82 percent) agree that "we need higher federal fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles now in order to conserve more energy, making us less dependent on Middle Eastern oil, and to reduce the ill effects of global warming." Over half of Michigan residents (51 percent) said that they agree strongly with that statement.



The Blue Muskrat said...

That's really interesting. I've been writing about Joe Knollenberg and John Dingell and how they seem to be reading the tea leaves differently from each other...and how Dingell has started to sound a lot more favorable to raising the CAFE standards...a significant shift in his policy.

Very interesting. Good information.

Jerome Alicki said...

Mr. Muskrat,

If you think that's interesting you should read the rest of the data from the survey. Go to and download the pdf of the survey.

I was specifically impressed with paragraph 2 on page 5. When asked to identify the 3 biggest problems facing the atuo industry today, 60% said that the industry does not offer the best available technology, 59% felt there was an overemphasis on vehicles that with poor fuel efficiency, 53% said poor auto industry leadership and 51 percent said lack of congressional and White House leadership in raising fuel-efficiency standards.

I'm certainly the farthest thing from an auto industry analyst, and I would not even know where to begin to attempt to influence corporate and congressional policy on this matter. My thought is that most people in power already have a pretty good idea of what's going on in the minds of the consumer and worker, but the industry is a levithan that cannot be easily turned from it's current path. Providing clear statistical data on the matter seems to be the only rational method of formenting change.

Valeria Rogers said...

I run an environmental blog for the Monroe News on the east side of Michigan about Michigan being a Dinosaur environmentally. I've sent a long letter to Rep. Dingell with cc to Gov. Granholm about pointing fingers everywhere else for this crisis instead of the Big 3 and the state of Michigan themselves. I basically pointed to all the opportunity for new economic growth here in Michigan as far as going green since we are surrounded by water. Our coalburning facilities have the ability to produce some of the purest hydrogen available. Instead of grasping the new opportunities, Michigan not only looks the other way but actually winces.

Where was the foresight and marketing strategy for all 3 automakers when way back in 2000 we started to hear about global warming, when the Japanese produced their first hybrid car, and when that trend continued? They were busy getting fat off of giant sized SUV type vehicles and trucks and paid little heed to what was clearly a new rising market for hybrids. To say they were caught off guard by all of this is laughable. Daimler-Chrysler produced the first 3 hydrogen powered buses for Iceland way back in 2003. When I attended Detroit's auto show this year specifically to see what America offered for hybrids in the future, Daimler-Chrysler had no hybrids to view at all. Curious isn't it?

Time Magazine had an article about the Japaneses auto manufacturers and others that are poised to tromp us environmentally for huge profits noting how far behind we are in the environmental arena. This was also in the Dingell letter.

Excuses as far as unfair trade agreements make no sense either in this light--Japan is a small island. Who there in their right mind would buy our huge gas guzzling SUV's to drive on crowded streets or even smaller American compact cars in lieu their own tried and true vehicles. Limiting their import or imposing larger tariffs effect consumers like myself who in the very near future will be purchasing a new car. I want a hybrid period. Limiting my choices with higher tariff prices on Japanese cars while not offering the same from America is unfair to every consumer that is trying to be responsibly green. Fact is we are so far behind on that level now that why would I buy a first year, bugs and all American hybrid, than one that is already perfected by the Japanese?

While America struggles to produce hybrids all together, the Japanese are making their vehicles even more beautifully appealing and affordable by streamlining their assembly which is able to produce 3 different vehicles on one line, as well as cutting all their manufacturing energy usabe by 20% and hoping to hike that another 15% or more in the near future.

The only blame I can see elsewhere at all is with the Bush administrations cooperation with big oil to blatantly obstruct and even alter facts about global warming which has fueled our floundering around miserably behind the rest of the world on the environmental front. I wrote a blog on many of the people and departments in the current administration that were part of this deception way back in November.

The Asian's have a saying "Where there is danger, there is opportunity." The danger is global warming, the opportunity to grab the golden ring was way back at least 7 years ago now. The Bush administration and big oil did a major disservice to our entire growth potential for anything outside of the status quo box to award the oil industry the highest earnings of any industry ever @$75,000 per minute last year.

Knollenburg is so far off on his thinking Michigan and the Big 3 are being bullied that I think I will send another cc of my letter to him also for the flip side as to who is responsible for the demise of our economy.

Valeria Rogers said...

I have an environmental web blog for the Monroe News on the east side of the state. I've sent a long letter to Rep. Dingell on the topic that Sen. Knollenberg addresses. Perhaps I'll send a copy to him also. We're witnessing a lot of finger pointing elsewhere concerning Michigan's economy and the Big 3. What I want to know is where was the foresight of the Big 3 way back in 2000 when the issue of global warming surfaced and the golden ring of opportunity was evident and available. The Japanese grasped the golden ring and not only began producing hybrids but streamlined their assembly lines to produce 3 different vehicles on one line while cutting their energy consumption by 20% with the intent of lowering it another 15% in the near future. The moment that hybrid hit the market, our auto industry should have sat up and taken notice but it was riding high on revenues from giant sized, gas guzzling SUV's and trucks, and failed to grasp the emerging green economy.
Time Manazine wrote an entire article baed on the Japanese being poised to trample us. To blame unfair trade policy is ludicrous. Japan is a small island. What consumer in their right mind there would buy a giant, gas guzzler to drive on crowded streets or even one of our small compact models compared to their own tried and true? To impose higher tariffs on their imports while not offering a variety of hybrids of our own affects car buyers like myself that are in the market in the next year or so. I want a hybrid. Why should I buy a first year, bugs and all American model that is decidedly ugly, when the Japanese have a perfected version that they have streamlined to be beautiful and affordable?
The excuse is that it is costly and will take time to produce our own. So why is it that Daimler-Chrysler had the technology to produce the first 3 hydrogen buses for Iceland way back in 2003, but offered absolutely no hybrids at the latest car show I attended? Curious isn't it? Ford has had capable ethanol vehicles for years, why didn't they also invest in that infrastructure long ago? The entire economy in Michigan is likewise a dinosaur when it comes to the green. The Asians have a saying that "Where there is danger, there is opportunity." That danger is global warming. Michigan has not only ingnored the go sign for opportunity, it has actually winced at change with green market opportunities literally falling in our laps that would make for a strong economic future. An example: coalburners of which we have too many are capable of producing some of the purest forms of hydrogen for fuel. We're surrounded by H20. But DTE is just now putting scrubbers on their coalburners to thwart mercury emissions, and other airborne irritants but not CO2. It's just another example of the snail's pace at which we are moving. Every day we lapse into the quandary of how to proceed the rest of the world advances farther into the future.
The only blame I can see elsewhere for our entire country's inability to forge ahead in the new green market is the Bush administration and big oil's responsibility for obstructing and manipulating the data about global warming all along. Sen. Waxman is now conducting an investigation into the same. It seems our free market enterprise is just not so. Big oil revenues at $75,000 per minute last year is enough clout to obstruct anything alternative, new, or better than the fossil fuel status quo. There is simply too much unchecked power behind this machine that has been allowed to run rampant for 6 years now. It has single handedly caused all the confusion, and procrastination for change and opportunity much like the same machine has done for the war in Iraq. It is outright obstruction of the truth.
It appears the public has finally quit listening to the forked tongues and deceitful rhetoric, and is paying closer heed to the actions of the speakers. That is indeed a whole different story.