1 in 5 to Take Foot off Gas After Gulf Gusher

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In what could be very good news for the nascent electric vehicle industry, a survey by the Shelton Group – which polled 1,312 consumers across the US – found that 20.1 percent of Americans say they will “reduce their gas consumption in response” to the news about the oil gushing from the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico.


“For years our research has shown America is a see-it-to-believe-it nation. Before we

make changes, we need to see things with our own eyes or have a personal connection

to something, said Suzanne Shelton, president of Shelton Group. “If Americans start seeing a lot of oil-covered pelicans or dying dolphins, these numbers will likely go even higher,”

The combined impact of the oil spill and the recent mine disaster in West Virginia has caused over 40 percent of Americans to think about the “human and environmental costs” associated with their own energy consumption, according to the Shelton Group poll. Chip in a few dollars a month to help support independent cleantech coverage that helps to accelerate the cleantech revolution!

The Shelton Group specializes in polling consumer behavior in relation to the environment, but more general polling organizations find similar results.

CBS News found that support for drilling has dropped from 62% in ’08 to 46% this week. And a Rasmussen poll conducted in just the first two weeks – before the full extent of the catastrophe was known – found that support sank 9 points among Republicans from 86% to 77%. Among Independents support drained from 72% to 58%, and among Democrats, it ebbed from 54% to 41%.

The findings are similar to a Pew Poll:

“Allowing more offshore oil and gas drilling in US waters”  got 67% support in September’08. That dropped to a bare majority among all adults at 54%. By contrast, “Increasing federal funding for research on wind, solar and hydrogen technology” got 73% approval this month, an ongoing high level of support.

Only 4% told Pew that the sea floor gusher is not a serious disaster.

“From what you’ve seen and heard, do you think that the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is a major environmental disaster, a serious environmental problem but not a disaster, or is it not too serious an environmental problem?”

Major disaster 55%,

Serious problem 37%,

Not serious 4%,

Unsure/too soon 4%.

How about you? Have you responded to the Gulf oil blowout by thinking of ways to reduce your use of gasoline?

Image: Flikr user Texas Finn

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