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Page added on August 30, 2012

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Americans hate oil companies more than the government, poll finds

Americans hate oil companies more than the government, poll finds thumbnail

While the oil industry has long had a negative image with the public, it appears it may be getting worse. A new Gallup poll asked thousands of Americans how they felt about the nation’s 25 largest industries, and 61 percent said they had a negative feeling toward oil companies, according to 24/7 Wall Street.

That’s a higher negative rating than respondents had for the government, and higher than all other private industries.

Meanwhile, the computer industry continues to top the list of most favored businesses, weighing in with 73 percent. This isn’t likely to help the oil industry’s persecution complex. The industry, as I noted during the Offshore Technology Conference, prefers to dismiss the American people as uneducated and unappreciative of the huge technological accomplishments. Certainly, most Americans don’t understand the complexity of energy production.

It’s worth noting that at the time of the Gallup poll, gasoline prices were rising, which doesn’t help public opinion. Also contributing: the industry’s profits at a time of rising gas prices and a perception of a poor environmental record.

Rounding out the top 5 most hated industries were banking, health care, real estate and pharmaceuticals. In other words, even after the banking industry almost destroyed the global economy, it’s still held in higher regard than oil companies.

At conferences and speeches, I’m often asked what the oil industry can do to change it’s image. My response — “sell iPads” — usually gets a laugh. But it does speak to the oil industry’s fundamental image problem. Apple makes products that people want to buy. Exxon Mobil makes a product that people feel they have to buy.

Public perception, though, is increasingly important for the oil industry. Not only have its tax credits come under fire in recent years, it also is dealing with the general public more directly than it has in the past because of hydraulic fracturing. Fracking has brought oil producers literally into people’s backyards in some cases, and that proximity combined with the industry’s dismissive attitude toward public concern has spurred anti-fracking legislation. If the industry learns to be transparent and responsive to such concerns, it could result it better public understanding, and ultimately, allow oil companies to move behind bankers on the most-hated list.

Houston Chronicle



8 Comments on "Americans hate oil companies more than the government, poll finds"

  1. DC on Thu, 30th Aug 2012 6:02 am 

    Amerikans…

    Interesting poll. The top 5 industries in the US, lets see why people hate them.

    Banking-Destroys wealth and enriches the 1%, corrupts political system like few others.

    Health Care-Drives people into bankruptcy.

    Real Estate-Works with Banking to inflate housing bubbles, build incredibly low quality and worthless ‘homes’ that no one can afford. Creates large class of over-compensated vultures that add nothing of value, but are paid extremely well while doing it, err..not doing…

    Pharmaceuticals-Also makes you really really sick, and definitely makes sure you stay that way. And poor.

    And of course, Oil….powers all of the above, and more. Whats not to love?

  2. Jerry Leverenz on Thu, 30th Aug 2012 6:38 am 

    And don’t forget: oil companies have been funding misinformation campaigns to hide the realities of man-induced climate change. They have been pretty successful at it and this will cost mankind a lot.

    We shouldn’t just complain we should do something. We can reduce our use of oil-industry oil considerably and continue to have a wonderful life. For example buy a bicycle and use it on a daily basis.

  3. Arthur on Thu, 30th Aug 2012 8:44 am 

    As long as Americans keep buying fuel from these oilcompanies, their ‘hate’ is merely hypocrasy. People demand fuel, oilcompanies deliver. The modern economy is one big machine and everybody is happy to play a part in it and everybody is ‘greedy’ to a certain extent. The new thing is: the party is nearly over since mother nature is no longer willing to deliver the booze.

  4. BillT on Thu, 30th Aug 2012 11:24 am 

    “Those D—-d Chinese! Taking all of our jobs and getting more powerful every year from their balance of trade with the US. I’m bored. Lets run down to Walmart and buy some cheap stuff from…China.”

    Americans love to hate, but never look in the mirror.

  5. Kenz300 on Thu, 30th Aug 2012 1:30 pm 

    Americans hate oil companies but the Republican party is funded by the oil companies and is doing all they can to block any competition from alternatives.
    The Republican party has convinced people to vote against their own best interests.

    The fossil fuel industry has a hold on energy policy.

    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/energy-futurist/energy-policy-follow-the-money/547?tag=nl.e660

  6. SOS on Thu, 30th Aug 2012 8:11 pm 

    “And don’t forget: oil companies have been funding misinformation campaigns to hide the realities of man-induced climate change.”

    The problem with that statement is the fact that global warming scientists were recently caught fabricating evidence on a huge scale to support their “research” on theories of global warming. Making things up, adjusting equations, stretching the evidence, it was all there.

    Gasoline is high priced for many of you, as is all energy, because of peak politics, not peak oil. Remember the old campaign line its the economy stupid, well ” Its your government stupid” when it comes to high energy costs.

    Energy has to be in short supply and very expensive before any market would turn to solar or wind. These are the most expensive and inefficient forms of energy we have. If they were our only source we would be poor indeed. If we cant afford $100/barrel oil we certainly cant afford solar or wind. Unortunately some people dont remember how oil got to $100/barrel. Its the government stupid!

    Dont’ forget it’s important to conserve energy too. Its always important to be conservative.

  7. BillT on Fri, 31st Aug 2012 12:57 am 

    Get a life SOS. You sound like Kenz with his broken record of canned quotes.
    I guess it is a world wide conspiracy by all governments to control oil…lol.

    I personally hope the controls get harder, not weakened, so that we have a world to leave for our grand kids and theirs. Greed is going to kill you, wait and see.

  8. SOS on Fri, 31st Aug 2012 3:14 am 

    You want peak government.

    Dont you think conservation, being conservative about your energy use, is important?

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