Americans See High Energy Costs Ahead but Bullish That Advanced Energy Can Solve Problems, Strengthen Economy

Dec 15, 2011, 09:00 ET from Advanced Energy Economy

More than 60 percent of Americans Expect Gas Costs to be $5 a Gallon or More in Next 5 Years; But See Energy-Saving Technologies Creating Jobs and Making U.S. More Competitive

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans are gloomy about future costs for energy and the vast majorities are taking steps to reduce their personal energy costs, but they see economic benefits to emerging energy-saving technologies that they think will create jobs and strengthen the economy, according to a new survey released today.

The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) Survey found that 62 percent of Americans expect a gallon of gasoline to be $5 or more within the next five years.  Eight in 10 Americans said that the country's dependence on foreign oil was either a "crisis" or "major problem" and that the cost had become a "burden."

But Americans do seem to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Americans are bullish about the impact energy-saving technologies can have on the economy. More than half (55 percent) say efforts to make greater use of energy-saving technologies create jobs – a 3:1 ratio over those who say they reduce jobs.  And by a 2:1 ratio Americans believe that greater use of energy-saving technologies helps our country by saving money and making our economy more productive and competitive.

The survey was conducted by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE).  Founded earlier this year, AEE is a growing organization of regional business councils and partner organizations promoting a better business climate for the advanced energy sector and helping American companies and workers succeed as the world transitions to advanced energy. AEE currently has chapters covering nine states and representing several hundred American companies. More chapters will be announced in the near future. AEE provides financial assistance to chapters along with communications, policy, research and data support.

With global energy consumption projected to rise more than 50 percent by 2035, future prosperity depends on new ways to meet the world's energy needs. Advanced energy presents an economic opportunity for American companies and workers, which have led essentially every technology- and innovation-driven transformation of the past century.

"The challenge for this generation is whether or not we seize the great opportunities presented by advanced energy, or let others lead the way ," said Tom Steyer, Senior Managing Member of Farallon Capital Management, L.L.C,  and a co-founder of AEE. "Through advanced energy, America has the chance to change the way we generate and consume energy and turn energy supply from a problem to an opportunity, with a profound impact to our economy and national security."

Additional results from the survey include:

  • 67 percent of Americans say they have taken steps in the last 3 years to save gasoline (such as buying a car with better gas mileage or changing their driving behavior). Even more than 60% of those making over $100,000 annually reported taking action to reduce their gasoline use.
  • 57 percent of Americans also think the nation is in crisis or has major problems when it comes to how electricity is made and delivered in the U.S., considering cost, reliability, safety, public health impact, and environmental impact.
  • 55 percent of Americans believe that efforts to make greater use of energy saving technologies that help our country do more with less have been "positive" because they save money over the long run and make our economy more productive and competitive.  25 percent believe these efforts have been "negative" and 20 percent don't know/not sure.
  • 91 percent of Americans believe it is important for the U.S. to make greater use of energy-saving technologies.  Two-thirds deemed it "very important." This is true regardless of party affiliation, with 94 percent of Democrats, 90 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Independents calling it "very important" or "somewhat important." 
  • 73 percent of Americans reported that the amount they've spent on their electric and heating bills in the last 3 years has gone up "a lot" or "some" (30 percent reported "a lot"/44 percent reported "some").
  • In the last 3 years, 81 percent of Americans have taken steps to save energy in their homes (such as installing insulation, replacing windows or switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs).

"This survey reflects what we are seeing in the marketplace. Thousands of advanced energy companies are operating in America, hiring workers and providing energy sources and energy-saving technologies to meet our nation's demand," said Hemant Taneja, Managing Director of General Catalyst Partners and a co-founder of AEE. "AEE's mission is to become the voice for this sector so it can grow and strengthen America's economy and competitiveness worldwide."

The AEE online survey of 1,004 adults was conducted from Dec. 6 through Dec. 7, 2011, by JZ Analytics. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. The survey was designed by AEE staff with field work done by JZ Analytics.   Full survey results are available upon request. To learn more about AEE, please visit

SOURCE Advanced Energy Economy