Seventy-six percent of Americans worry about the country’s lack of progress in developing better ways to use energy efficiently and develop renewable sources, according to a new poll released today by The University of Texas at Austin.
Of the more than 3,400 consumers surveyed, 84 percent also said they were worried about U.S. consumption of oil from foreign sources.
Participants were asked to rate their satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the job that 26 different organizations, corporations, institutions and government bodies were doing to address energy issues. The public overall was dissatisfied with how government and big business are addressing energy issues. Congress — with ratings of 8 percent satisfied, 71 percent dissatisfied — ranked dead last.
According to results, the majority of Americans care about energy issues: 68 percent are concerned about the energy efficiency of their homes and 60 percent about global energy issues.
The poll also found that a majority of Americans believe that the nation’s energy situation is going to get much worse over the next 25 years. Encouragingly, 57 percent of Americans expect that they will make changes in their behavior and adopt new technologies to address these issues.
Survey results also implied that now is the time for for the government to start investing in smart energy companies that are ready to bring their products to market. Younger respondents, in particular, were more likely to say they expected to use energy-saving alternatives in the next five years, including smart meters, solar panels, and hybrid or electric vehicles.
Perhaps unsurprisingly in a tough economy, consumers were less concerned about energy’s impact on the environment than on their wallets. But they ranked economic growth (37 percent) only slightly more important than preventing harm to the environment (33 percent), suggesting support for a balanced approach to energy policy.
“This survey shows that the public craves leadership on energy issues. Through our analysis of the data, we hope to add an authoritative voice to public debate on energy issues. The Energy Poll fits well with our commitment as a world-class research university to change the world for the better,” said Bill Powers, president of UT Austin.
The inaugural University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll was developed by the McCombs School of Business’ Energy Management and Innovation Center. To be conducted biannually, the online poll rates leadership on energy issues, measures consumers’ energy priorities, and tracks knowledge and energy consumption behaviors.
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