Survey: 3 Out of 4 Angry About High Gas Prices
June 27, 2008
Red states and blue states are united on at least one issue: Americans are increasingly angry and anxious about high gas prices and favor far-reaching action on energy and climate issues, according to a new poll.
About three out of four Americans and a similar percentage of likely voters expect gasoline prices to reach $5 a gallon by Labor Day, according to a national opinion survey of 1,005 adults conducted for the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI) think tank and its Citizens Lead for Energy Action Now (CLEAN) project by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC).
The level of Americans braced for more bad news on gas prices by the end of the summer is up from the 71 percent who correctly forecast in a January 2008 CSI survey that gas prices would reach $4 a gallon this summer.
Three out of four Americans and likely voters -- including a bipartisan 73 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of Democrats and 74 percent of Independents -- say that they already are "very angry" or "somewhat angry" about gasoline prices.
In a big shift, the number of Americans who cite rising gasoline and other energy prices as their biggest economic worry is up sharply from January of this year.
In the new survey, when asked to identify the "two biggest economic problems" for 2008, over three out of five Americans -- including a nearly identical 62 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Independents -- named "rising gasoline and home heating oil prices" as the biggest problem, ahead of 44 percent who pointed to "recession or economic slowdown."
This reflects a major jump in less than half a year from January 2008 when only 51 percent named energy prices as their top concern, separated by just four percentage points (versus the current 18 percentage points) from the second most common worry: recession/economic slowdown, at 47 percent.
The result of all of this growing anger and anxiety is a political climate in which Americans favor far-reaching energy and climate actions.
The new survey shows that six out of 10 Americans say "definitely yes" to the following statement: "The reliance on fossil fuels is the product of the industrial revolution of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Do you think it is time for our nation to start thinking in terms of the concept of a 'new industrial revolution,' one that is characterized by the orderly phasing out of fossil fuels and the phasing in of clean, renewable energy sources - many of which are available now, such as wind and solar for electricity, hybrid and clean diesel technologies for cars."
Overall, 90 percent of Americans -- including 82 percent of Republicans, 96 percent of Democrats and 94 percent of Independents -- said either "definitely" or "probably" yes and only 8 percent "no."
Car buying plans
Another key finding: Significantly more Americans are now inclined to buy a fuel-efficient vehicle.
Over half of Americans -- including 58 percent of those who are angry about gas prices and 47 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Independents -- are "more likely" to "buy a hybrid, clean-diesel or other more fuel-efficient vehicle now than [they] were six months ago."
This is up sharply from the 35 percent of Americans who indicated in April 2007 that they were more likely to buy a hybrid or other fuel-efficient vehicle than six months before.
"Americans have been way ahead on issues related to energy policy and fuel efficiency," said Civil Society Institute President and Founder Pam Solo. "Rather than discounting the future and deferring action, elected officials should seize the strong consensus in the country for bold steps to move the United States toward a clean power future and greater fuel efficiency."