Energy poll shows public disconnect on energy issues

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…

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 natural gas 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 energy issues 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 hydraulic fracturing, 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 energy issues than in September 2012.Women are more likely than men to say they do not know whether climate change 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:

China energy consumption rises 3.9% in 2012

Provided by

University of Texas at Austin

view popular

5 /5 (2 votes)

Related Stories

Poll: Americans believe U.S. headed in wrong direction on energy

Oct 20, 2011

A poll released today by The University of Texas at Austin found less than 14 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction on energy. Of more than 3,400 consumers surveyed, 84 percent were worried …

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.

Survey shows many Republicans feel America should take steps to address climate change

Apr 02, 2013

In a recent survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents conducted by the Center for Climate Change Communication (4C) at George Mason University, a majority of respondents (62 percent) said they feel America …

Big environmental footprints: 21 percent of homes account for 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions

Jul 18, 2013

Energy conservation in a small number of households could go a long way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, scientists are reporting. Their study, which measured differences in energy demands at the household level, appears …

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

One bn people without electricity ‘need urgent action’: Daegu meet

Oct 17, 2013

The fact that more than a billion people in the world live without electricity is a major obstacle to development that requires immediate and sustained action, energy experts and officials say.

Urgent investment required for battery storage of green electricity

Oct 17, 2013

In the coming years, the Netherlands will have to work hard on Smart Grids, intelligent local networks with new storage capacity for green electricity. It will thus be possible to counter the impending instability …

Britain, EDF ‘strike deal on nuclear project’: source

Oct 17, 2013

The British government and French energy giant EDF have agreed on a deal to build two latest generation nuclear reactors in Britain, an informed French source said on Thursday.

Solar panels can be used to provide heating and air conditioning

Oct 17, 2013

The use of solar panels to produce toilets hot water is standard practice, but researchers at the Madrid Universities Carlos III and Politécnica suggest that they may also be used to provide large offices …

GM to launch dual-fuel car in 2014

Oct 17, 2013

General Motors said Wednesday it will launch a car next year with the ability to operate on both gasoline and compressed natural gas, taking advantage of abundant US gas supplies.

Robo Raven: Robotic bird that harvests solar energy (w/ video)

Oct 16, 2013

( —Small robotic birds are showing lots of promise for tasks such as monitoring the environment and conducting surveillance. But one current drawback they have is the amount of time they are able …

User comments : 0

More news stories

Automatic speaker tracking in audio recordings

A central topic in spoken-language-systems research is what’s called speaker diarization, or computationally determining how many speakers feature in a recording and which of them speaks when. Speaker diarization …

New iPhone 5C has analysts talking about possibly poor sales

Is the iPhone 5C a rare miss for Apple? Little over a month after its release, analysts are questioning how well Apple’s new plastic-encased smartphone is faring with consumers.

Google shares soar past $1,000 on strong earnings

Shares of Internet search and advertising titan Google soared more than 13 percent to pass the $1,000 mark for the first time Friday after a strong earnings report.

App provides new direction for researchers examining how children learn from nature

A new iPad application is showing promise in examining how young children learn through their interactions with nature. Cathy Maltbie and Katie Steedly, both research associates for the University of Cincinnati’s Evaluation …

Prediction model for Kickstarter tells if projects will sail

(—From art work to eccentric gadgets to technology projects, Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site that makes many dreams come true. Since its launch in 2009, 5 million people have pledged millions …

Feynman wasn’t joking: Modeling quantum dynamics with ground state wavefunctions

( —Amongst the late Richard Feynman’s many prolific and profound contributions to quantum mechanics, the eponymous Feynman clock is perhaps one of the more innovative. Conceived as a solution to the …

Tiny ‘Lego brick’-style studs make solar panels a quarter more efficient

( —Rows of aluminum studs help solar panels extract more energy from sunlight than those with flat surfaces.

New particle might make quantum condensation at room temperature possible

Researchers from FOM Institute AMOLF, Philips Research, and the Autonomous University of Madrid have identified a new type of particle that might make quantum condensation possible at room temperature. The …

Evolution is not a one-way road towards complexity

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about mollusks, e.g. snails, slugs and mussels. The research group of Andreas Wanninger, Head of the Department of Integrative Zoology of the University of Vienna, …

Chaos-on-a-chip model shows market bubbles may be predictable, controllable

( —It’s an idea financial regulators have dreamed of. Experiments on a simple model of chaos have found that it may be possible not only to predict an extreme event, like a stock market collapse, …