Yale Survey: Imported Oil is a Serious Problem and Increased Fuel Efficiency Standards a Top Solution
10 June 2005
A new Yale University research survey reveals that Americans overwhelmingly believe that the United States is too dependent on imported oil. The survey of 1,000 adults nationwide shows a vast majority of the public also wants to see government action to develop new “clean” energy sources, including solar and wind power as well as hydrogen cars.
Conducted on behalf of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the survey found that fully 92% say dependence on imported oil is a serious problem, with 68 percent saying it is a very serious problem.
Results of the poll, which covers a number of other environmental issues, indicate that 93% of Americans see requiring the auto industry to make cars that get better gas mileage is a good idea to address the issue of oil dependence. Just 6 percent say it is a bad idea.
This sentiment varies little by political leaning, with 96% of Democrats and Independents and 86% of Republicans supporting the call for more fuel-efficient vehicles. (And 90% of SUV owners.)
These findings come on the heels of Congress’ rejection of a proposal to require sport utility vehicles and minivans to become more fuel-efficient and achieve the same gasoline mileage as passenger cars. (Earlier post)
This poll suggests that Washington is out of touch with the American people. Republicans, Democrats and Independents, young and old, men and women—even SUV drivers—embrace investments in new energy technologies, including better gas mileage in vehicles—Dan Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy
(Click on charts below to enlarge.)
The poll also what indicates what people do not want to see as solutions. Least favored were taxes— a mileage tax, a
carbon pollution tax and an increased gas tax all vied for last place.
Interestingly, only 36% thought opening up ANWR for drilling was a good or very good idea.
A survey can be statistically valid and still misleading about what people might actually do. (Exit polls, anyone?) The Yale survey highlights the broad awareness of a problem, but also highlights confusion around what to do about it, or whom to believe as a source of information.
Nevertheless, as noted by Gus Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies:
This poll underscores the fact that Americans want not only energy independence but also to find ways to break the linkage between energy use and environmental harm, from local air pollution to global warming.
The survey was conducted by Global Strategy Group from May 15 to 22, 2005, using professional phone interviewers. The nationwide sample was drawn from a random digit dial (RDD) process. Respondents were screened on the basis of age, i.e., to be over the age of 18. The survey has an overall margin of error of ±3.1% at the 95% confidence level.
(A hat-tip to Robert B.!)
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