• Jun 21st 2010 at 7:49PM
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The oil spill in the Gulf has had a profound effect on the environment, the scope of which won't be fully understood for some time. This disaster has also caused widespread anger, brought environmentalists out of the woodwork and even swayed public opinion on the use of fossil fuels. According to a recent poll, the American public now perceives a renewed need to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.
As the latest Rasmussen Reports poll indicates, an oil spill effects more than just those who are directly impacted by it. Rasmussen polled 1,000 Americans on June 16-17 and the results speak volumes:
  • 73 percent of adults believe it's at least somewhat important for the country to change its dependency on fossil fuels. 42 percent say it's very important.
  • 41 percent say government policies should be enacted to discourage use of fossil fuels and encourage the use of alternative energy.
  • 43 percent believe the disastrous oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is at least somewhat likely to change our dependency on fossil fuels in the near future.
  • 29 percent of Americans think we will buy less oil from the Middle East in the future.
  • 54 percent of women think the Gulf Oil spill will cause America to change its dependency on fossil fuels in the near future, but 61 percent of men say it's unlikely.
Admittedly, it's a shame that it takes a disaster to ignite our drive towards reducing dependency on fossil fuels, but if any good can come from the spill, we'll definitely take it.

[Source: Rasmussen Reports | Image: A Little Lam - C.C. License 2.0]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Other results:
      67% of Americans think that someone else should buy a smaller car so that we can reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, but that they really need this 3-row SUV can't you see?
      • 5 Years Ago
      And at least 50% of those are driving trucks/SUV........

      • 5 Years Ago
      They asked the wrong question: "for the country to change its dependency on fossil fuels"

      How about changing *their own* dependency on fossil fuels?

      Reducing your fossil fuel use a little bit is easy, and saves you money:
      Start bicycling for every trip under X miles; turn off all the lights and electronics you're not using; learn how to read your electricity meter to spot excessive usage; reconsider your air travel. In general, pull that 20-year old copy of "50 things you can do to save the Earth" off the shelf and go back to checking your tire pressure, etc.

      But reducing your fossil fuel a lot takes $$$$:
      ~$15,000 for solar PV; ~$7,000 for solar hot water (I'm guessing, my system is gold-plated); $3,000 to replace appliances and lights with more efficient ones; $??? to improve your home insulation. $25,000 for a really high MPG car or BEV.

      Increasing numbers of people are doing this (I did the house part), and if the "green" news stories weren't so tired and repetitive maybe we'd hear more about it. But waiting for government to get you off fossil fuel, or for the economics to improve so you make your money back quickly is going to be a long wait.

      The answers to the personal responsibility questions they did ask are depressing:
      * "Many Americans like the idea of developing clean, environmentally friendly sources of energy, but most aren’t willing to pay for it. "
      * "Sixty-five percent (65%) of voters agree that finding new sources of energy is more important than reducing the amount of energy Americans now consume."
        • 5 Years Ago
        Middle way:

        While you may in fact have actual experience with the public transit in your region, way, way, way too many people who say exactly what you just said have exactly no experience with the public transit in your region.

        My wife has lots of experience with people like that. We have excellent transit here in Vancouver, and lots of people use it. But every year on Earth Day, a dozen or so of my wife's coworkers will take the train that day and feel all warm and fuzzy and proud of their accomplishment in Doing Their Part To Save The Earth. For one day. Before going right back to their regular earth-stomping commute the very next day.

        Personally, the last time I even wanted to own a car was when I lived in a town where public transit could suck golf balls through a garden hose. Buses came every half hour during peak times - and every hour during not-so-peak-times. Then not at all after 9 pm (that was only after they added "late" service!). I got into the habit of riding my bike well into the dead of winter there.

        The good thing is that it was maybe 15 miles from one end of town to the other, so an electric would suit every last inhabitant just fine with current technology.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Not necessarily, it depends where you live and what you do.
        I recently sold my vehicle here in L.A. and since, I've been riding my bicycle 8 miles a day and discovered something called 'public transit, which I was always been to lazy to look into.

        It's been 1 month, and its been liberating. No more gas, no more insurance, no more bodywork, I save thousands and get healthier in the process.
        • 5 Years Ago
        All reasonable suggestions; but yeah. If you want to live sans fossil fuels, the price tag is in the multi ten thousands. It's a luxury that most people cannot afford. And it's hard to justify going all the way even if you do have the money, because the alternative costs $0.

        But if we all did the little things like ride bikes, install CCFL lighting, downsized cars to 4 cylinders, etc.. it would all add up. We could collectively cut our consumption by 1/2.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nick. you must live in one of those few areas where public transit is actually decent.
        I'm not sure where that is exactly.... but props to you :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I predict the past will repeating itself. Wanting something will never make it happen. Only actions will achieve that.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Humans as a matter of course are resistant to change. Most often it takes some kind of outside force or event to cause people to change. Very few of us do it without this action occurring. As much as I hate to admit it the mess in the Gulf has at least for the moment focused some attention on our unrelenting search and thirst for oil and of course the inevitable point at which no amount of will or money can keep it going. Now will this information make your average SUV driving ill informed American make a change in his lifestyle ? No way, but at least the discussion has started and some high placed and influential individuals are leading the way, Fred Smith CEO of FDX is a good example, someone I'm sure who has supported conservative political leaders over the years but is now a big proponent of electric transportation options. Of course you can argue that this is in protection of his massive energy dependent transportation company but how he gets there is not really important to me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well duh!

      Being so dependent on foreign oil is not a good thing. Whatever the price is we have to pay it. We have no other option thanks to the automakers (film "Who Killed the Electric Car") and the oil companies. To them profit is the only motive. Caring about the environment or the health of the economy is anti-profit therefore it is to be avoided.

      Every economic downturn in the last 50 years was preceded by a spike in oil prices. As any businessman will tell you, you can not keep sending large amounts of money out the door and stay viable. We are sending so much money to the middle east it's driving them crazy. Making more and more terrorists for the world to deal with.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's the balance that Randy speaks of. When you send 10 dollars out but only get 3 back you're at a net drain on your economy.

        That is the situation with US getting 70% of its oil from foreign sources.
        • 5 Years Ago
        > 29 percent of Americans think we will buy less oil from the Middle East in the future
        That's not even remotely an argument! Oil is produced by foreign companies, then put onto the international market. Whether it's BP, Shell, Texaco or whatever brand you're buying, it'll always be a mix from oil wells allover the planet.

        America would have to start its own oil market and force oil companies to sell all american-produced oil through that market. That'll never happen, so let's bust the myth of an all-american longterm energy policy that still considers oil an option.

        The only solution is a radical step forward and eliminate oil from the energy policy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well ya.. I'd like to know why the other 27% think it isn't important.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Americans think that:

        If you need more gas you just get it from the gas station because that's where it comes from.
        Any increase in price or decrease in convenience is unacceptable.
        Oil is naturally renewable resource, you can just keep pumping the oil aquifer.
        God made the oil for us to burn.
        • 5 Years Ago
        27% of Americans still fully supported Bush until the end of his presidency......
      • 5 Years Ago
      American 'environmental' hypocrisy is legendary.

      My co-worker, a very nice, sincere lady, told me she is a staunch environmentalist.
      Her family car?
      A Cadillac Escalade.

      You can't make this stuff up.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Come now. She might need to tow a boat or travel trailer once a year. She NEEDS to drive a fuel guzzling wastemobile each and every day of the year, what if "today" is the day she needs to tow.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What percent of American actually want to do their part and pay higher fuel taxes? I think that would be a number approaching zero.

      They all expect the petroleum usage reduction fairy to save the day.
        • 5 Years Ago
        When my state proposed a 10 cent increase in the fuel tax, the citizens screamed bloody murder. A week later the price of gas went up 20 cents on it's own and no one said anything.
      • 5 Years Ago
      And by the next season of American Idol begins... Americans will forget what they said.

      It is sad that public opinion is only swayed by emotions instead of intelligence.

      Intelligence would makes people remember the next time they need to buy a new car.

      But emotion only makes people answer poll questions.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My, oh my, you guys are so cynical, it leaves me nothing to say. : )
      • 5 Years Ago
      In other news ... 83% of Americans believe that gas is priced too high.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, 50% of Americans are of below average intelligence. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        And about 23% of Americans are dumb.
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