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Page added on September 27, 2013

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Americans Have Complex Attitudes About Energy

Public Policy

No country uses more energy than the United States. However, the result of a new poll new poll results from the Pew Research Center shows that energy use that doesn’t prevent Americans U.S. from feeling ambivalent about energy issues.

On the one hand, Americans are against hydraulic fracking. Forty-nine percent of poll respondents oppose it, compared with 44 percent who favor it. Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents also favor increased development of wind, solar and other alternative energy sources, while 34 percent are against increased renewable energy development.

On the other hand, however, Pew found 65 percent of survey respondents strongly support approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline by 65 percent – while 36 percent are against Keystone being approved. Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents also support more offshore drilling, while 40 percent say they were against an increase in drilling.

This complexity and ambivalence shows up in the poll results on other energy-related topics. Americans drive more miles than do people in any other country, and comparatively few Americans regularly use mass transit. However, Americans, by a margin of 67 percent to 29 percent, say they favor spending more money on mass transit. On the topic of fuel standards, those polled support laws requiring better vehicle fuel efficiency by 73 percent to 25 percent.

Regarding nuclear power, 58 percent of those polled are against it, while 38 percent favor increasing nuclear power use.

It might not be surprising that there are political and even gender differences on the issues. For example, 54 percent women surveyed said they are opposed to the increased use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, with 38 percent in favor of more fracking. Fifty-one percent of men said they favor increased fracking activity; 44 percent of men surveyed were opposed to more fracking.

Political differences on fracking closely follow gender differences. Republicans support more fracking by a margin of 58 percent to 36 percent, while Democrats oppose more fracking by 59 percent to 33 percent. And while Democrats support the Keystone XL Pipeline by a margin of 51 percent to 43 percent, support from Republicans is much stronger, with 82 percent favoring it, and only 13 percent opposing it.

While the country has been experiencing a real energy boom, only 48 percent of those polled knew that U.S. energy production was up, and only 34 percent correctly attributed the boom to oil and gas exploration. And while those who were polled were by a small margin against the increased use of fracking, it was fracking that helped to push U.S. crude output to an average 7.6 million barrels of oil per day for August. That was the highest monthly output level since 1989, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its Sept. 10 Short-Term Energy Outlook.

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6 Comments on "Americans Have Complex Attitudes About Energy"

  1. LT on Sat, 28th Sep 2013 12:19 am 

    “This complexity and ambivalence shows up in the poll results on other energy-related topics. Americans drive more miles than do people in any other country, and comparatively few Americans regularly use mass transit. However, Americans, by a margin of 67 percent to 29 percent, say they favor spending more money on mass transit.”

    >> Did the American demand their government to have created the current living arrangement?

    Good government looks after the people. Bad government looks after themselves.

  2. BillT on Sat, 28th Sep 2013 2:44 am 

    The wishes of the American Sheeple no longer count. Only the desires of the corporations matter. That is what ‘for profit’ Capitalism eventually causes in every country. Greed and desire for more of everything. However, there is not enough resources for everyone to have ‘more’ so the crunch is on.

  3. harm on Sat, 28th Sep 2013 6:13 am 

    “Americans” (as a whole) don’t have complex attitudes about energy. Specific American scientists and economists do. Most Americans only think ‘how’d I get me some MORE o’that n’ cheaper?’ when and IF they ever think about energy.

    Thinking itself expends far too much energy for your average couch-bound NASCAR-watching Uhmurikan.

  4. DC on Sat, 28th Sep 2013 11:21 am 

    Holding mutually contradictory and or exclusive opinions can hardly be characterized as ‘complex’. Rather its a sign of a muddled and confused mind(or nation as the case may be). Or a best, a terrible uninformed mind.

    I think Harm understands the amerikan mind and how it perceives energy pretty well.

  5. rockman on Sat, 28th Sep 2013 2:47 pm 

    DC – Right on. I’m getting a tad tired of folks hanging the situation all on the govt and corporations. Both are responding to the demands of the vast majority of the public IMHO. We have the govt and commerce the public wants. The fact that it’s proving ineffective is a shared responsibility. And as long as the public doesn’t understand the situation it’s difficult to expect any significant change. No politician looking to get elected is going to push an agenda the public won’t accept. Doesn’t matter if that agenda that agenda makes sense or not. Enough election history to prove that.

  6. rollin on Sun, 29th Sep 2013 1:44 pm 

    That’s right, drug pushers respond to demand also and so do armies. Millions of lives wrecked and destroyed but it wasn’t the drug pusher’s fault or the army’s fault, they were just responding to demand.
    Give them what they want or more likely what they have been hooked on and make sure you fight all alternatives to keep the profits up.

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