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BP oil spill directs country's viewpoint toward renewable energy

recent poll by Rasmussen Reports, an American public opinion polling firm, confirmed that 73 percent of Americans believe it's important for the United States to cut its dependency on fossil fuels. Rasmussen Reports conducted the poll on June 16-17 asking 1,000 Americans what their thoughts were on fossil fuel dependency, government policies, and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The poll states that 73 percent of American adults believe it's "at least somewhat important for the country to change it's dependency on fossil fuels" while another 42 percent of adults think it's very important. Only 23 percent say it's not important at all. As far as the government's involvement in fossil fuels goes, 41 percent believe government policies should be enacted to "discourage use of fossil fuels and encourage the use of alternative energy." 

BP's recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which began April 20 when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded, has clearly impacted more than just its surrounding environment. While countless amounts of wildlife have been destroyed and several businesses ruined, this poll indicates that Americans all over the country are speaking out in anger against this disaster, and their not just environmentalists. 

According to the poll, 43 percent of American adults believe that the disastrous oil leak in the Gulf is at least "somewhat likely to change our dependency on fossil fuels in the near future." On that same note, 54 percent of women say the Gulf oil leak will cause America to change its dependency on fossil fuels, but 61 percent of men think that idea is unlikely.

Despite the number of Americans who think cutting fossil fuel dependency is important, a majority of U.S. citizens still believe offshore drilling is vital to meet the energy needs of America. Seventy-six percent think offshore drilling is at least somewhat important in meeting these needs, and 60 percent believe offshore drilling should be allowed despite the oil spill in the Gulf.

When questioned about the United States' future purchases of foreign oil , only 29 percent of citizens believe the country will buy less oil from the Middle East. Forty-five percent think it will stay the same and 19 percent think the U.S. will buy more foreign oil over the next five years. 

There is a ray of light through some of those bleak numbers, though. According to the poll, 48 percent of U.S. citizens say they are likely to buy an alternative energy car in the next 10 years, and 63 percent say "investing in renewable energy resources such as solar and wind is the better long-term financial investment for America than investing in fossil fuels."

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True but...
By retrospooty on 6/22/2010 8:00:46 AM , Rating: 3
As expected, none of them agree on how ;)

RE: True but...
By computergeek485 on 6/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: True but...
By mdogs444 on 6/22/2010 9:03:29 AM , Rating: 5
Asking someone what they would like to happen is not the same as asking someone if they would pay for it to happen.

As the old saying goes, "you can wish in one hand and shit in the other. see which fills up first"

RE: True but...
By sgw2n5 on 6/22/2010 12:47:34 PM , Rating: 1
I think it's a matter of convenience and energy density.

I'd 1 kg of diesel is much easier to carry around that 50 Kg of batteries... and you get about the same amount of energy.

Hydrocarbons absolutely rock as a medium for energy storage... and I doubt this will change any time soon. Now, how we get the hydrocarbons might change (non-food crop derived biofuels for example), but we will be using hydrocarbons for a loooong time.

RE: True but...
By Samus on 6/24/2010 3:40:29 AM , Rating: 2
Asking someone what they would like to happen is not the same as asking someone if they would pay for it to happen.

What you don't realize is that nuclear-generated electricity is currently HALF the price of electricity generated from fossil fuel.

If we ramp up nuclear power production, it'll probably be more like a QUARTER of the cost of coal/oil power.

Just to pour salt on the wound, from a perspective of safety track records in the United States, nuclear power has caused infinately less damage to the environment (pollution, ecological disasters, mining deaths, natural habitat distruction) than coal, oil, and hell, even wind power.

RE: True but...
By quiksilvr on 6/22/2010 9:05:24 AM , Rating: 1
Or like 73% of Americans agree that polls are accurate.

RE: True but...
By Scabies on 6/22/2010 11:48:12 AM , Rating: 1
more like "73% of surveyed Americans believe they were being surveyed"
Its like those misleading headlines that both ask and answer a question for you before you even read the article.

RE: True but...
By gamerk2 on 6/22/2010 12:17:25 PM , Rating: 2
Example of a NY poll not to long ago: about 80% of respondents wanted to cut spending, but when each of the top 10 spending obligations were put forward, no more then 38% voted for cutting spending in any individual group.

Same thing here, they want less dependence on oil, but don't want to pay higher prices. Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

RE: True but...
By waykizool on 6/22/2010 8:07:13 AM , Rating: 2
We'll all just agree to disagree. Then progress can be made...just ask congress.

RE: True but...
By VitalyTheUnknown on 6/22/2010 8:08:47 AM , Rating: 5
RE: True but...
By mdogs444 on 6/22/2010 8:42:40 AM , Rating: 5
The poll states that 73 percent of American adults believe it's "at least somewhat important for the country to change it's dependency on fossil fuels" while another 42 percent of adults think it's very important. Only 23 percent say it's not important at all. As far as the government's involvement in fossil fuels goes, 41 percent believe government policies should be enacted to "discourage use of fossil fuels and encourage the use of alternative energy."

Well, what this tells me is that alot of us don't want to use fossil fuels or oil from Iran & Venezuela. However, majority of the country does NOT want the government to impose this Cap & Tax scheme to force us to pay more for the same amount of energy that we use now, in an effort to have us pay the same amount to just use much less.

The only people that make out in that case is the energy companies - yes, those who you despise. They get the same amount of money for supplying you with half the product.

We don't need more government intervention. The free market can take care of this if the government gets out of the way and lets it happen. If people don't want to buy oil/gasoline, they will start buying cars that use much less of it or cars that run on electric/hydrogen when they're made available. The free market system tells us that when companies can start producing alternative energies on a scale which we can use, at prices that are competitive (if not lower) than what we have now, while supplying as much energy as current sources do.

If you know anything about how hard working middle class people feel, its that they do not want to waste money, they do not want to feel taken advantage of, and they do not want to feel penalized by tax policy. By instituting a cap & tax policy, all you're doing is taking more money away from people and giving them less product, thus filling the pockets of energy companies and legislators who stand to benefit from it. All subsidies do make the costs of the product appear cheaper than they are, when in fact we're paying much more from them. When those subsidies disappear, the cost goes up.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of oil companies or whoever else. But this idea that we "have to" get off fossil fuel is complete bunk. I'd like to get off FOREIGN fuel, not necessarily fossil fuel. We have the worlds largest coal reserves to power our plants, we can build more nuclear plants, we can invest in ways to convert our shale oil to cheaper usable fuel, and many other things.

If you're making the case for "energy independence" and getting off "fossil fuels" from a standpoint of climate change/global warming, then I'm not going to bother even entertaining that idea. If you want to make the case for it from a security standpoint and being independent without trying to combine it (quite laughably) with this whole Green mantra, then we already know we have what is needed - just not the political will to do so.

RE: True but...
By AssBall on 6/22/2010 12:14:42 PM , Rating: 5
I don't know why more people can't seem to see it your way, Mdogs.

If you ask the average person who is in the 73% of this poll a simple follow up question. "Why?" My guess is they would:

1: Regurgitate some global warming environmental propaganda.
2: Say that we are going to "run out" of these resources soon.
3: They have no idea why they answered yes.

RE: True but...
By AssBall on 6/22/2010 12:21:33 PM , Rating: 3
Oh and:

4: Security / war in the middle east.

Which would be a pretty weak platform, since contrary to popular belief, only a fraction of our oil is imported from the middle east.

RE: True but...
By retrospooty on 6/22/2010 2:08:41 PM , Rating: 3
I have always said, we need to get off oil for these 3 reasons in order...

1. Economic - We are making countries that hate us rich beyond comprehension and spending way too much at it.

2. Political - Due to oil, we keep a presence in the middle east, creating enemies. Well funded enemies. We just need to get the hell out of there.

3. Environmental - I am not a man made global warming believer... but the pollutants so thick you can see it in the air over any large city are obviously not healthy to breath for us or our children.

RE: True but...
By retrospooty on 6/22/2010 2:10:19 PM , Rating: 2
"only a fraction of our oil is imported from the middle east. "

Not really... We buy most of our imported oil from Canada, but they get most of theirs from the ME.

RE: True but...
By Danger D on 6/22/2010 2:20:07 PM , Rating: 3
Oil is fungible. It doesn't matter who you buy it from on the international market, it all benefits all the exporters. If we buy more from Canada and Mexico and completely cut out Venezuela, it won't hurt Venezuela at all. The countries that had been buying Canadian oil simply go to Venezuela to fill the need.

Saudi Arabia has by far the most oil, and they have a strangle-hold on OPEC, which basically dictates price and supply for the entire international market. If we import oil, they gain, even if we import from Canada.

RE: True but...
By Hiawa23 on 6/22/2010 3:34:18 PM , Rating: 3
The self proclaimed greatest country in the world has had decades to try to solve this issue, & put some sort of energy plan in place. Blame who you want, this goes back atleast 8 presidents, they all said the same thing but this is where we find ourselves, so, if you ask me, yes, I also would like to see less dependence, but my cars still run on fuel, & gas prices are too high as it is, the electricity that powers my home is partially made made with fossil fuels. I think we agree, problem is how, & why hasn't any of our last 8 presidents been able to solve this? I say Obama should lift the ban on the drilling, as we need to get oil wherever we can get it, just do it safely.

RE: True but...
By Clienthes on 6/23/2010 5:19:52 PM , Rating: 2
why hasn't any of our last 8 presidents been able to solve this?

Because even though the technology has been improving at an incredible rate, our energy requirements have been going up faster.

Just a side note: we have more coal than we know what to do with here in the US. We don't use oil to produce electricity, we use coal. Electricity production has almost nothing to do with energy independence except possibly as it relates to transitioning to EVs, but that tech isn't ready for large scale use yet.

RE: True but...
By Clienthes on 6/23/2010 5:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
I hate when I bounce from article to article and lose track of which one I'm reading...Fossil fuel dependence vs. energy independence in this case. Please disregard the second half of my previous comment.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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