Public Support for Domestic Energy Grows

By July 2, 2008Energy

From the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, July 1:

Amid record gas prices, public support for greater energy exploration is spiking. Compared with just a few months ago, many more Americans are giving higher priority to more energy exploration, rather than more conservation. An increasing proportion also says that developing new sources of energy – rather than protecting the environment – is the more important national priority.

The latest nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 18-29 among 2,004 adults, also finds that half of Americans now support drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, up from 42% in February.

The public’s changing energy priorities are most evident in the growing percentage that views increased energy exploration – including mining and drilling, as well as the construction of new power plants – as a more important priority for energy policy than increased conservation and regulation. Nearly half (47%) now rates energy exploration as the more important priority, up from 35% in February. The proportion saying it is more important to increase energy conservation and regulation has declined by 10 points (from 55% to 45%)

This all makes intuitive sense, obviously. When you run short of food in the refrigerator, you don’t starve. You go to the local grocery store and get more food. When you run short of fuel and other energy sources, you go get more.

OK, it’s not a perfect analogy. You can use empty shelves in the fridge to inspire your diet, that’s true. But you do need food to live, and an economy needs energy to run.

(One quibble with the survey: We understand the reasons for the way the question is phrased, but it’s a mistake to conflate “conservation” and “regulation.” You can conserve without adding regulatory burdens.)

Join the discussion One Comment

  • karl says:

    Simple question here- If we are running out of fuel why aren’t the gas station’s tanks empty? Refineries are running at 85% capacity and we have plenty of fuel. To me that sounds like gouging plain and simple.
    I have no problem drilling on every inch of the U.S. but will that really bring prices down? Will that oil just get dumped on the world market or will we keep it for domestic use?

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