|Survey results for favorable impressions of energy and environmental concepts. Source: Pike Research. Click to enlarge.|
According to a new survey from Pike Research, US consumer support for renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, is high while support for cap and trade as a carbon management scheme is extremely low.
A survey of more than 1,000 US adults about their views on 12 energy and environmental concepts found that 79% of consumers have a favorable view of solar energy, and 75% have a favorable view of wind energy. Hybrid vehicles (64%) and electric vehicles (57%) came in third and fourth. At the bottom of the favorable rankings were carbon offsets/credits; LEED certification; and cap and trade.
The percentages of survey respondents stating that they had either a “very favorable” or “favorable” view for each of the 12 concepts were as follows:
- Solar Energy: 79%
- Wind Energy: 75%
- Hybrid Vehicles: 64%
- Electric Cars: 57%
- Biofuels: 47%
- Clean Coal: 47%
- Nuclear Power: 42%
- Smart Meters: 37%
- Smart Grid: 37%
- Carbon Offsets/Credits: 24%
- LEED Certification: 19%
- Cap and Trade: 15%
Cap and Trade and Nuclear Power were tied in terms of the largest percentage of “strongly unfavorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” views from survey participants, each with a 19% unfavorable rating, followed closely by Carbon Offsets/Credits with 18%.
LEED Certification, the green building certification program administered by the US Green Building Council, suffered from a very low level of familiarity among respondents; 53% stated that they were unfamiliar with the program, the lowest level of familiarity of any of the 12 energy and environment concepts.
Clean Transportation. Of the three concepts directly tied to transportation (hybrids, EVs and biofuels), hybrids received the highest percentage of favorable responses, and the second fewest “not sure/not familiar” responses (5%) among all concepts.
With a majority of favorable responses, only 9% unfavorable responses and little incidence of unfamiliarity, hybrid vehicles are another widely accepted clean technology among consumers.—Energy & Environment Consumer Survey
Segmentation analysis revealed a positive correlation between favorable opinions toward hybrid vehicles and age; the youngest segment showed a 7% lower level of favorability than the oldest segment.
New vehicle market share for hybrids in the US in 2010 was about 2.4%.
Electric cars was the only other concept after wind, solar and hybrids to receive a majority of favorable responses. Of the remaining 43%, 27% were neutral, some had unfavorable views (10%) and only a few were unclear on the concept (6%).
When segmenting the favorable response by the demographic characteristics of the respondents, the only clear indicator of favorability is education. Differences between segments in the income, gender and age categories were mostly insignificant. The difference between the least and most educated segments was a substantial 25%. This data indicates that targeting of more educated consumers will be a common strategy among manufacturers of electric vehicles.—Energy & Environment Consumer Survey
Biofuels and the clean coal concepts tied on favorable views (47%).
Carbon management. Carbon management concepts received some of the highest percentages of unfavorable responses. Twenty-four percent had a positive view of carbon offsets/credits, although the majority of responses were either neutral (27%) or not sure/not familiar (31%).
The concept of cap and trade was the least favorable topic in the survey, with only 15% having favorable or very favorable (5%) views on it. Cap and trade was also the only concept of the 12 to receive more unfavorable responses than favorable ones.
Lagging behind nearly all other concepts in favorable responses, the concepts dealing with carbon management were not well received by survey respondents. The shortage of favorable responses to carbon offsets/credits and cap and trade was accompanied by relatively high percentages of unfavorable and unfamiliar responses. This consumer reaction is notable since these concepts are designed to be utilized by businesses. Cap and trade proved to be slightly more disagreeable to consumers by owning the greatest number of unfavorable responses and the fewest favorable reactions. This concept was also one of the least recognized by respondents with 40% expressing that they were unfamiliar with cap and trade. Carbon management was distinguished from other concepts by its appeal to younger consumers. While older consumers were more likely to favor nearly every other concept, younger consumers showed higher levels of favorable response for both carbon management concepts.—Energy & Environment Consumer Survey