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Survey: Majority wants oil firms taxed
Most Americans say oil companies price gouge; want higher fuel-efficiency standards.
September 22, 2005: 5:35 PM EDT
Facing sticker shock at the pump, Americans want higher fuel efficiency standards for U.S. automakers.
Facing sticker shock at the pump, Americans want higher fuel efficiency standards for U.S. automakers.
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Gas prices may skyrocket even more if Hurricane Rita knocks out Texas' oil refineries. CNN's Ali Velshi reports (September 22)
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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Americans are fed up with price gouging and government inaction on energy prices, according to a recent survey conducted for the Civil Society Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank.

The poll results, released Thursday, also showed that four out of five Americans -- including 76 percent of Republicans -- would support "a tax on the windfall profits of oil companies" if the resulting revenues went toward alternative energy research.

"Americans have seen too much price gouging and too little action from Washington on energy prices, fuel-efficient vehicles and our dangerous reliance on foreign oil," said Civil Society Institute President Pam Solo.

"The benefits of making 40 miles per gallon the standard for all autos in the United States are obvious to Americans: Consumers save money; we reduce our dangerous reliance on Middle East oil, making us more secure in the world; air pollution is reduced; and we can cut the U.S. contribution to global warming by nearly a third," Solo added.

The survey, by Opinion Research Corporation, was also conducted for 40mpg.org.

Other key findings include nine out of 10 Americans believe that oil companies are gouging gasoline consumers today, and that four out of five adults say the federal government is not doing enough about high energy prices and America's over-reliance on Middle East oil.

"Convinced that they are being gouged by oil companies and unsatisfied by inaction at the national level, Americans appear to be coalescing in substantial and strikingly bipartisan majorities behind major new federal energy policies, including: a windfall profits tax that would be imposed on oil companies to finance research into alternative energy; and tougher new fuel-efficiency requirements for automobiles and other vehicles," said Opinion Research Corporation Vice President Wayne Russum.

Almost three out of four Americans believe that recent gasoline price hikes now make it more important that the federal government impose higher fuel-efficiency standards, and four out of five adults say that U.S. automakers should follow the same path as Toyota, which intends that "all its new cars going forward will use fuel-saving hybrid technology," the survey said.

"Greater fuel efficiency makes sense. It is technologically possible, the benefits are real and the challenges can be overcome," said Solo.

"One striking sign of how far things have come: Eighty percent of Americans are in a frame of mind where they want Detroit carmakers to follow the lead of Toyota in powering all future vehicles with fuel-saving hybrid technology," Russum added.

In response to the poll results, 40mpg.org launched an online petition Wednesday in which people can tell their members of Congress and the White House that they want major steps taken toward a windfall profits tax on oil companies and tougher fuel-efficiency standards on vehicles.

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