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New Survey Reveals American Attitudes To Energy And Environment

A new survey conducted by the University of Michigan has concluded that Americans are as concerned about energy’s impact on the environment as they are about energy’s affordability.

According to the survey, consumers are much more sensitive to higher gasoline prices at the pumps than they are higher home-energy bills.

The University of Michigan Energy Survey, conducted quarterly, is conducted in conjunction with the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, and takes an “academically rigorous’ look at the attitudes towards energy in America.

Inforgraphic ENERGY DEC 12

“This new survey is unique in how it examines personal concerns about energy as consumers view it in their everyday lives,” said survey director John DeCicco, research professor at the U-M Energy Institute. “This careful approach differs from surveys that prompt consumers for their responses on the often politically driven energy debates of the day.”

Six key findings were highlighted by the University of Michigan:

  • Most Americans feel energy is affordable
  • Higher-income consumers say they could bear much greater cost increases than middle and lower-income consumers
  • Lower-income consumers are more pessimistic about future energy costs
  • Consumers express much greater sensitivity to higher gasoline prices than they do to higher home energy bills
  • Consumers are at least as concerned about the impact of energy on the environment as they are about the affordability of energy
  • When it comes to concern about energy’s impact on the environment, geography matters

While several of these points seem like no-brainers — yes, those who earn more are probably less concerned about higher home energy bills — there are some interesting results from the survey nonetheless.

Specifically, 93% of consumers feel that home energy is affordable, while 95% also feel that gasoline is affordable (though, this figure was a result of the survey done prior to the recent plunge in gasoline prices). Interestingly, the question that led to these answers was not “is home energy affordable,” but rather, in line with the academically rigorous nature of the study, how much more expensive energy would have to get before a home-owner would start making changes to their living behavior.

As the study pertains to attitudes towards the environment, the survey found 59% worry “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about the impact that energy generation has on the environment, and 55% worry “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about energy affordability. On the whole though, nobody really cares about energy reliability, with only 32% saying they worry about it.

Residents of the Northeast of America are the most concerned citizens with energy’s impact on the environment, with 68% of consumers saying they worry “a great deal” or “a fair amount.” The level of concern was lower in the South and West of the country, and Midwesterners squared up with the national average of 59%.

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I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.


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