Nine out of ten Americans making lifestyle changes to cope
with rising energy costs, RBC survey says
"NIMBYism" on the decline as Americans grapple
Four in ten have considered moving closer to their place
of work to save on transportation costs
NEW YORK, June 2, 2008 — Ninety per cent of
Americans have made changes in their daily lives to counter
higher energy prices, according to an annual energy survey
released today by RBC Capital Markets, one of North America's
leading energy investment banks. And while six out of 10 say
they would rather pay more for cleaner fuels, an almost equal
number of Americans (58 per cent) say it is more important
to keep the green in their wallets than to participate in
The national survey of 1,007 U.S. respondents, released in
conjunction with RBC Capital Markets' annual North American
Energy Conference being held in New York today and tomorrow,
found that in response to higher prices at the pump, 76 per
cent of those polled said they are driving less, 19 per cent
are using or plan to take public transportation more often
and 11 per cent have made or are considering carpool arrangements.
Four out of 10 workers said they have considered moving closer
to their place of work in order to save on transportation
costs, and 82 per cent of respondents said they will consider
buying a hybrid when they purchase their next vehicle.
Even Americans with incomes of more than $100,000 are feeling
the energy pinch, with 48 per cent saying they are dining
out less often and 21 per cent saving less for retirement.
"The issues Americans are facing as a result of the
current energy crisis have prompted not only a change in their
attitudes, but also changes in their actual behavior as they
try to manage the impact on their daily lives," said
Kurt Hallead, Director of Global Energy Research for RBC Capital
When asked how their summer vacation plans have been altered,
half said they are either staying locally or are not vacationing
at all. Almost two-thirds of Americans said they would support
a ''holiday,'' or repeal, of the federal gas tax from Memorial
Day to Labor Day. Of this group, none said they would drive
less, and nearly 20 per cent said they would actually drive
more because they could afford to.
Americans' NIMBY "Not In My Backyard" syndrome
also appears to be waning. Only 16 per cent of Americans said
that they would oppose the construction of any type of energy
plant or facility in their hometown, down from 23 per cent
in 2007. Seventy-one per cent of Americans said they would
support an alternative-energy system in their hometown, including
a wind or solar facility, up from 58 per cent last year; 34
per cent would support a clean coal technology plant (up from
27 per cent last year); 32 per cent would support a liquefied
natural gas facility (up from 25 per cent last year); and
21 per cent would support a nuclear power plant (up from 17
per cent). Nevertheless, the survey found that although a
majority of Americans attribute the rapid rise in gas prices
to a lack of oil refining capacity in the U.S., eight out
of 10 said they oppose the construction of an oil refinery
in their hometown.
"Americans are feeling the pain of soaring energy prices
and it appears they are actually beginning to grasp the severity
of our energy dependence," added Hallead. "The dilemma
has always been that the public want solutions to the country's
energy problems, but not solutions that would overly impinge
on their day-to-day lives. That is starting to change and
people are taking action."
Notwithstanding all the changes Americans are making, compared
with last year, respondents are far less optimistic about
solving the country's energy woes. When asked if the U.S.
will ''find a solution to its energy problems in your lifetime,''
66 per cent of survey respondents said no, up from 42 per
cent last year. Even so, eight out of 10 Americans polled
said they will consider a candidate's stand on energy issues
in this year's presidential election, an increase from about
five out of 10 in 2004.
"Although it's disheartening that Americans are more
pessimistic about our energy problems, it's promising that
people are more in tune with what needs to be done to help
solve the myriad energy issues we are facing as a country,"
said Marc Harris, RBC Capital Markets' Co-Head of Global Research.
Other highlights of the survey include:
- Ninety-three per cent of Americans agree the U.S. needs
to find ways to produce more of its own oil rather than
rely so much on foreign oil sources, while 59 per cent said
that oil drilling should be allowed in the North Atlantic
and Pacific coastal areas or the Arctic.
- When respondents were asked, "How far would you drive
to save 20 cents on a gallon of gas?" - one out of
five said they would drive 10 miles or more to save 20 cents
- Six out of 10 of those surveyed said they believe that
their personal activities have a meaningful impact on global
warming, yet 20 per cent admitted they are not taking any
steps to reduce their own carbon footprint.
- More than half (54 per cent) of survey respondents disagreed
with the idea of taxing Americans who drive SUVs or other
gas-guzzling vehicles not required to perform their job.
The RBC survey was conducted May 17 - 23, 2008, and included
1,007 online respondents. GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc.)
assisted RBC Capital Markets in the survey. The margin of
error was ±2 per cent.
About RBC Capital Markets
RBC Capital Markets is the corporate and investment banking
arm of RBC and is active globally in debt origination, sales
and trading, foreign exchange, infrastructure finance, structured
products, metals and mining, and energy. Its North American
platform includes a significant U.S. middle market investment
banking franchise and leading equity, underwriting, sales,
trading and research businesses. Bloomberg ranks the firm
as the 12th largest investment bank globally.
RBC Capital Markets' Global Energy Group
provides advice and raises capital for the energy and utilities
sectors around the world, including exploration & production,
oil field services, pipelines, master limited partnerships
(MLPs), and refining and marketing. The firm provides award
winning energy research that covers more than 200 energy companies
around the world. RBC is one of the most experienced banks
in the world in oils sands financing and is a Nomad on the
Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
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