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Published on October 17th, 2013 | by No Artificial

Do Americans Understand Energy Industry?

The latest results from the Energy Poll show a general lack of understanding the energy industry among the American public.

The nationwide survey of consumer perspectives on energy, conducted between September 5 and 23, 2013 by The University of Texas at Austin, have demonstrated that Americans are less engaged on energy issues than they were six months or a year ago.

“What we’re seeing is the real disconnect between energy and the American public,” UT Energy Poll Director Sheril Kirshenbaum explained.

“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,” he added.

For example when participants were asked, “Which country do you believe is the largest foreign supplier of oil for the U.S.?” 58 percent of respondents chose Saudi Arabia. and only 13 percent chose the correct answer, Canada.

energy Do Americans Understand Energy Industry?

The survey have shown mixed views on the recent spike in domestic natural gas production.

82 percent of Americans want the federal government to focus on developing natural gas but only 38 percent of those who have even heard of hydraulic fracturing (hydraulic fracturing is inherently linked to natural gas development) support its use in the extraction of fossil fuels.

Similar variance were noticeable throughout the results and there were also big differences in how various groups answered to the same questions. For instance, while the percentage of Americans who think that climate change is occurring held steady at 72 percent, this includes 87 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of Libertarians, and 68 percent of Independents.

Responses also varied widely by gender, with 44 percent of men and 20 percent of women describing themselves as knowledgeable about energy.

“Why should we track–or even care about–public opinion on energy issues? Because it matters. Our attitudes eventually shape future policy decisions and define global energy priorities. So it’s important that we continue to pay attention”, Sheril Kirshenbaum wrote in the Scientific American’s blog post.


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