Energy poll shows public disconnect on energy issues

Oct 18, 2013

(Phys.org) —The latest energy poll conducted by The University of Texas at Austin shows Americans to be less engaged on energy issues than they were six months or a year ago. Survey results also highlight consumer misperceptions about where the United States gets its energy in the midst of a transformative period of domestic energy production and unparalleled technological changes.

The survey of consumer perspectives on energy, conducted Sept. 5–23, shows mixed views on the recent surge in domestic production, largely made possible by the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing in tandem with horizontal drilling. Among the 40 percent of Americans who say they are familiar with the technology, only 38 percent support hydraulic fracturing, down from 45 percent six months ago.

That said, an increasing majority of consumers (57 percent, up from 53 percent last fall) see domestic natural gas production as beneficial in lowering carbon emissions. Additionally, more than 4 out of 5 (82 percent) want the federal government to focus on developing natural gas, second only to renewable technologies (89 percent).

"What we're seeing is the real disconnect between energy and the American public," UT Energy Poll Director Sheril Kirshenbaum said. "In some instances, ideology may influence attitudes, but there's unquestionably a lack of understanding across a broad swath of that affect each of us."

Seventy percent of those surveyed expressed concern about the portion of their household budget spent on energy, down from 77 percent six months ago. Yet, nearly 3 out of 4 (72 percent) also expect the portion of their household budget spent on energy to increase within the next year.

Americans fare poorly when it comes to general energy literacy. Fifty-eight percent think that the nation's largest foreign supplier of oil is Saudi Arabia, while just 13 percent chose the correct answer, Canada. Thirty-one percent say they are knowledgeable about how energy is produced, delivered and used, but less than half (46 percent) of this group correctly chose Canada as our largest foreign supplier of oil. Responses also varied widely by gender, with 44 percent of men and 20 percent of women describing themselves as knowledgeable about energy.

Other findings from the UT Energy Poll include:

  • Among those familiar with , 48 percent of those age 55 and older support its use, while just 31 percent of those younger than 55 say they do. Yet, 29 percent of older Americans think that the U.S. government should permit exports of natural gas to other countries, while 37 percent of younger Americans agree.
  • Just 14 percent have read, seen, or heard about energy issues daily, down from 21 percent one year ago. Consumers are also less likely to seek information about reducing their own energy use, or follow local, national, and global issues than in September 2012.
  • Women are more likely than men to say they do not know whether is occurring (14 percent) but more likely (42 percent) to believe their personal actions have an effect on the environment.
  • The percentage of Americans who say climate change is occurring held steady at 72 percent, up one point from March. This includes 87 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans.

Explore further: Cook farm waste into energy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China energy consumption rises 3.9% in 2012

Feb 24, 2013

Energy consumption by China, the world's leading emitter of CO2, rose 3.9 percent in 2012 from the previous year but fell by 3.6 percent per unit of gross domestic product, the government said.

Report: Use of coal to generate power rises

Jul 12, 2013

Power plants in the United States are burning coal more often to generate electricity, reversing the growing use of natural gas and threatening to increase domestic emissions of greenhouse gases after a period of decline, ...

Majority of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana

Apr 09, 2013

(HealthDay)—A majority of Americans (52 percent) now favor legalizing marijuana, and 72 percent feel that the government efforts to enforce marijuana laws are not worth their cost, according to research ...

Recommended for you

Website shines light on renewable energy resources

4 hours ago

A team from the University of Arizona and eight southwestern electric utility companies have built a pioneering web portal that provides insight into renewable energy sources and how they contribute to the ...

Better software cuts computer energy use

5 hours ago

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart ...

Cook farm waste into energy

Dec 17, 2014

It takes some cooking, but turning farm waste into biofuels is now possible and makes economic sense, according to preliminary research from the University of Guelph.

Developing a reliable wind 'super grid' for Europe

Dec 17, 2014

EU researchers are involved in the development of a pan-European 'super grid' capable of dispersing wind power across Member States. This will bring more renewable energy into homes and businesses, help reduce ...

Boeing 737 factory to move to clean energy

Dec 16, 2014

Boeing said Tuesday it plans to buy renewable energy credits to replace fossil-fuel power at the factory in Washington state where it assembles its 737 commercial airplanes.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VendicarE
4 / 5 (2) Oct 19, 2013
So a full 48 percent of Republicans are completely brain dead. Vs 13 percent of Democrats.

That makes over 50% of Americans, walking gas bags of ignorance.
goracle
1.3 / 5 (9) Oct 19, 2013
So a full 48 percent of Republicans are completely brain dead. Vs 13 percent of Democrats.

That makes over 50% of Americans, walking gas bags of ignorance.

Considering the widespread obesity, that might be closer to 'rolling butter balls of ignorance' than walking gas bags.
VendicarE
not rated yet Oct 19, 2013
I stand corrected.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.