Gas prices change views on energy

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

From an Associated Press article by H. Josef Hebert in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- High gasoline prices have dramatically changed Americans' views on energy and the environment with more people now viewing oil drilling and new power plants as a greater priority than energy conservation than they did five months ago, according to a new survey.

The poll released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center shows nearly half of those surveyed - or 47 percent - now rate energy exploration, drilling and building new power plants as the top priority, compared with 35 percent who believed that five months ago.

The Pew poll, conducted in late June, showed the number of people who consider energy conservation as more important declined by 10 percentage points since February from a clear majority to 45 percent. People are now about evenly split on which is more important.

The number of people who said they considered increasing energy supplies more important than protecting the environment increased from 54 percent in February to 60 percent and the number of people who favor oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge also increased.