GQRR Survey of Small Business Owners Shows Strong Support for Energy and Environmental Standards


In today’s sluggish economy, American small business owners continue to face rising costs that hamper their ability to create jobs and grow the economy. Only one in four (24% of those surveyed) report their business is doing well. A 72% majority believe small businesses in America are on the wrong track. Equally striking is that 86% of these owners believe Washington doesn’t understand how small business works and doesn’t provide them help.  Nonetheless, these small business owners widely support bold environmental policies.

Nonetheless, these small business owners widely support bold environmental policies: 87% agree that improving innovation and energy efficiency are good ways to increase prosperity for small businesses. Three-quarters believe Washington should do more to spur innovation at American car companies and 80% support legislation requiring the auto industry to increase fuel efficiency standards to 60 miles per gallon. Additionally, 76% support the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of carbon emissions for power plants, refineries and other emitters. 

What’s more, the small businesses surveyed debunked claims that regulations are crushing small businesses and our economic recovery. Only 13% believe regulation is the biggest problem facing their small businesses. Conversely, 46% believe their small business is hurt by uncertainty about the future economy and 43% believe their small business is hurt by the rising cost of doing business.  Small business owners know the future of small business depends on change and innovation. Many of the small business owners surveyed are already part of the green revolution. Almost all use recycled materials and a significant majority use energy-saving appliances such as efficient light bulbs. One in 10 have purchased hybrid, electric or alternative fuel vehicles. Many of those who have not taken these steps indicate willingness to do so in the future. 

Many small business owners have had to innovate to survive, and they have set a precedent for fellow entrepreneurs who want to boost their bottom lines. 

Key Findings

  • Small businesses are struggling: 72% of respondents believe small businesses around the country are on the wrong track and only 24% report their businesses are doing well.
  • Economic uncertainty and rising costs are hurting small business more than taxes and regulation: Despite rhetoric that regulation and taxes are the primary obstacles for small businesses, only 13% of owners believe regulation is the biggest problem, and only 23% report that taxes are a problem. In contrast, nearly half (46%) believe their small business is hurt by economic uncertainty and 43% suffer from rising costs of doing business. 
  • Small business owners know they need to innovate and improve efficiency to survive: 87% believe improving innovation and energy efficiency are good ways to increase prosperity for small businesses. Not only do small business owners know it’s time for change, but many have already adopted energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly practices in their business.
  • Small businesses believe it’s important to increase fuel efficiency now: 87% believe it is important for the United States to take action now to increase fuel efficiency in cars and light trucks.
  • Small business owners strongly support increasing fuel efficiency to 60 mpg: By a 4:1 margin (80%), small business owners support increasing fuel efficiency standards to 60 miles per gallon by the year 2025. 
  • Small businesses believe American car companies need to innovate more: 73% of small business owners believe the federal government should do more to make American car companies innovate and 71% believe American car companies do not innovate enough. 
  • Respondents support EPA regulation of carbon emissions that adversely affect the climate: 76% of small business owners support EPA regulating carbon emissions. Few see allies in government: 86% believe small businesses get no real help from the federal government and 86% also believe the federal government does not understand how small businesses really work.

Clean Energy SBM Report

Clean Energy SBM FQ