Drivers Concerned, But Unwilling to Change

April 27, 2007: Source – CBS News

Highway Traffic

Americans in large number say that global warming is producing serious effects, according to a New York Times/CBS News nationwide poll of 1,052 adults. But when it comes to specific steps to address the problem, nearly half of those polled said they did not believe that Americans would be willing to change their driving habits to save gasoline or reduce production of climate changing gases.

The poll included questions about higher gas prices and gas taxes as a means to reduce consumption. Respondents were supportive of higher gas prices to reduce dependence on foreign oil, but opposed higher prices to fight global warming. 76 percent of respondents said they would oppose a gas tax if it increased the cost of gasoline by $2.00 per gallon.

According to the New York Times report:

The negative view of new gasoline taxes may reflect the wide expectation that pump prices will continue to increase regardless of government action. More than 80 percent foresee higher prices in coming months, with many citing the Iraq war as a primary cause. Most respondents said they did not expect that any withdrawal of American troops from Iraq would cause prices to fall.

The poll follows recent reports from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) that U.S. demand for gasoline continues to break records. In the last week of March 2007, demand for gas was 9.363 million barrels per day, an all-time record for the month of March. During the first week of April, demand reached 9.472 million barrels per day, an all-time high for April. The EIA’s “This Week in Petroleum” suggests that average prices in the neighborhood of $3 per gallon “might lead to adjustments” in driving habits. The national average price of gasoline for the week ending April 23 was $2.87.

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  • Jeff

    Apathy will kill us all.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Why should people make serious changes? The technology exists to allow us to keep doing as we are, we just need to deploy this technology.
    This technology is the battery electric vehicle (BEV) powered with a combination of solar, wind, and hydro-electric energy. This combination is fully sustainable and can be just as good (actually better) than today’s vehicle technology.

  • Pablo

    The scientists work hard to increase the miles per gallon, but after that the people tend to driving more.
    For instance with the better MPG one can afford to drive more to buy cheaper sandals. One can spend 1$ more for gasoline, while saving 2$ for the sandals. This is consumer behavior and it can be treated only by the price of the gasoline.

    If in the above example we include price for the air pollution, the noise pollution, the traffic congestion, the global warming and so on then the saving of 1$ would change to 1$ loss

  • Mike

    Maybe get people to realize that you don’t need a 450HP V8, off-road capability, and an 8-seat SUV for just one person to go to the grocery store and pick up milk?

  • sean

    Whatever you do, don’t invade other countries to control oil supply.

  • Jerry

    The line says most would oppose a gas tax above 2.00. well maybe thats a good place to start

  • Jerry

    I just read the poll

    CONSIDER BUYING HYBRID CAR?
    Yes 68%
    No 25

    this is encouraging.

    I still think we need more awareness. A recent article in the Boston globe talked about fuel efficient vehicles. It talked about he usual FFV, Hydrogen. I think there was total of 1o words on Hybrids.
    “Hybrids are good but there are not enough of them” Not exactly in depth reporting

  • michael a.

    The greens need to marry the gas tax to saving the world from the Climate Catastrophe. Just like the “conservatives” married the cold war arms race to saving the world from communism.

    Unfortunately, neither the politicians, nor the media, nor the pollsters are gonna do this. (If Bush didn’t raise taxes to pay for the Global War On Terror the “central ideological struggle of our time”, you know he and his compadres in Congress ain’t gonna do it for global warming.)

    But if you ask the public,

    “Would you pay $6.00 per gallon for gas to ensure that your kids won’t face the collapse of modern agriculture and won’t be reduced to eating Soylent Green to stay alive?”

    Most people would say yes – except for the “super conservatives” who make up 30% of our population, and 90% of the Republican Party.

  • Bill

    U.S consumers behave like mad. Credit card is full, large mortgage, living full speed now !
    They don’t care about them selfs and even less for the planet.

    Don’t worry, they will have to pay the real price some day.

  • Armand

    ======================
    By ex-EV1 driver on 2007-04-27 16:48:30Why should people make serious changes? The technology exists to allow us to keep doing as we are, we just need to deploy this technology.
    This technology is the battery electric vehicle (BEV) powered with a combination of solar, wind, and hydro-electric energy. This combination is fully sustainable and can be just as good (actually better) than today’s vehicle technology.======================

    That’s like saying I’ll keep pissing and crapping in my living room so long as someone is willing to come and clean up after me.

    God forbid you people lift a finger.

  • Will

    I think a better marketing approach to the gasoline tax would be to marry it to the idea that it fights terrorism. 1-2 dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline that is funneled directly into grants for research on raising fuel efficiency and tax breaks for folks who buy fuel efficient cars. This provides an emotional incentive that resonates (just reference Bush’s ability to attain support for the invasion of Iraq by drumming up anti-terrorism support from his core) as well as a financial incentive for consumers to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles and for continuing research. The real beauty: as consumption falls so does the amount of money/need to reduce consumption and the amount of money taken in. As consumption rises, you take in more tax money to reduce consumption. It is a self-correcting system.

  • P Foster

    I have a real problem with this… it is not that drivers are unwilling to change so much as the availability of Hybrids are limited and the price is extremely too high for these cars. If we could see a hybrid for $10,000 – now we are talking about actual savings!!!!

  • B Liu

    I like the first poster’s thought but hydro-electric isn’t completely renewable.

    There are impacts to changing the flow of rivers in order to produce electricity.

    That being said, I do believe we can make hybrids even more efficient just by addind some solar and wind electricity.

    Every little bit helps.

  • ETM

    I would love to pedal to work and back; but those groggy motorists scare the Bgeszus out of me.