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Energy Innovation, Efficiency Can Help Small Businesses Prosper



Most small business owners support strong national standards to increase energy innovation, a new survey shows. Nearly nine out of ten small business owners agree that improving innovation and energy efficiency can help pave the way to increased prosperity for small businesses. They also endorse higher mileage standards for passenger cars and the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

Government regulation is not a top concern, according to a national survey of 1,200 small business owners sponsored by advocacy group Small Business Majority. Instead, 43 percent of business owners said the rising costs of doing business — including the cost of fuel, electricity, heating and cooling costs — was a top concern, topped only by uncertainty about the economy.

Only about 13 percent identified government regulations as a major challenge.

Small business owners support EPA regulation of carbon emissions that cause climate change by a 3-to-1 ratio, the survey showed. Support is also high in states with large manufacturing sectors, such as Michigan and Ohio.

On the issue of passenger vehicle fuel efficiency, the survey found that 87 percent of small business owners overwhelmingly support adopting strong standards now, and 80 percent support requiring the auto industry to increase mileage to 60 miles per gallon by 2025.

They believe that stronger gas mileage standards will help American automakers innovate, improve efficiency and compete in the global economy; 73 percent of poll respondents believe the federal government should do more to make American car companies innovate and 71 percent believe American car companies do not innovate enough.

Small business owners are also doing their part, the survey found, with 68 percent saying that they had installed energy-efficient light bulbs, appliances, windows and insulation. More than three-quarters (78 percent) recycle and 12 percent have purchased hybrid, electric or alternative fuel vehicles.

"Small businesses understand that to survive in this tough economy, they need to innovate, and that strong energy efficiency standards will assist them in doing so by helping them save money in their own business and creating new market opportunities," said John Arensmeyer, Small Business Majority founder and chief executive officer. "Right now, helping small businesses grow and put Americans back to work should be the No. 1 priority."