A recent Rasmussen poll finds 58 percent of Americans are opposed to providing $10,000 subsidies to those who buy electric cars. This is at odds with President Obama's recent budget proposal to provide $10,000 subsidies to Americans who purchase electric cars to offset the typical cost of $32,000-$42,000 per car. The President hopes that this policy endeavor will result in getting one million electric cars on the road by 2015.
Opposition to this policy increases to 65 percent when the total cost of the program ($10 billion dollars) is considered. 73 percent oppose allowing those making over $150,000 a year eligible for this subsidy. This is quite relevant given that General Motors CEO Dan Akerson reports the average Chevy Volt buyer makes $170,000 per year. Only 13 percent approve of a subsidy to this income group.
It remains unclear whether Americans oppose this subsidy policy because they believe the electric car industry can make money on its own. Although 58% oppose the subsidy, only 46% believe the electric car industry can make money without government subsidy. Instead, Americans seem to oppose the subsidy regardless of whether they believe the industry needs government subsidies to continue.
Partisan breakdowns reveal that Republicans oppose the subsidy 77 percent to 14 percent, but Democrats favor it 46 percent to 39 percent. Primary support comes from self-identified liberals with 63 percent favoring. In comparison 78 percent of conservatives and 53 percent of moderates oppose the subsidy.
Electric cars are more expensive than traditional cars, with base costs ranging from $32,000 to 42,000. A proposal has been made to give $10,000 government subsidies to the purchasers of electric cars. Do you favor or oppose government subsidies to encourage the purchase of electric cars?
13% Not sure
The Obama administration hopes to have one million electric cars on the road by 2015. To reach that goal, the subsidy program could cost the federal government $10 billion. Do you favor or oppose having the federal government spend $10 billion over four years to subsidize the purchase of electric cars?
10% Not sure
Should people who earn more than $150,000 per year receive a $10,000 grant from the government to reduce the cost of purchasing an electric car? Or should people who earn more than $150,000 a year pay for the full cost of the car themselves?
13% Yes, they should receive a $10,000 grant from the government
73% No, they should pay for the full cost of the electric car
14% Not sure
Will the electric car industry ever make money on its own or will it always require government subsidies to stay in business?
46% Electric care industry will make money on its own
28% Electric care industry will always require government subsidies
26% Not sure
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 18-19, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.