Americans Don't Believe Bush, Industry Claims on Gas Prices, Poll Shows

There has been some discussion about the rise in recent gas prices and its effect on public support to drill on public lands.  Polls are being tossed around and their results are as diverse as the questions – mostly we’ve seen Oil Industry sponsored polls suggesting widespread support for more drilling.

Ralph has suggested that respondents’ can flip dramatically depending on how a question is asked.  I’ve suggested that polls are often conducted with a normative rather than descriptive aim, e.g. with the shrewd political aim of generating short-term political capital to pass or stop legislation rather than gain any objective understanding of how a population feels.

In short, polls are as easily used as political weapons as social descriptors.  Obviously, the better pollsters go to great lengths to avoid bias.

One couldn’t cast a healthy dose of skepticism on Oil Industry polls purporting that ‘America’s want to drill public lands’ in good faith without imparting a similar suggestion to be thoughtfully critical of polls that claim otherwise.  With this in mind – some good news ! :

Americans Don’t Believe Bush, Industry Claims on Gas Prices, Poll ShowsYahoo! News

Evaluate the questions for yourself – National Survey conducted by Belden Russonello & Stewart



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  1. TimothyB Avatar

    I’m not a scholar or financial whiz but just a regular citizen of the US. It seem like common sense to drill for oil if we are to believe the experts. I hear we have reached or are coming close to “peak oil”. And like it or not, this economy is based on oil right now. But we have experts telling us that drilling for oil will not lower the cost of gas and some even say it won’t help. But I need to pull the “reason card” on this line of thought.

    Lets replace another renewable resource called “grain” in place of the word “oil” for the entire article the post was based upon. Basically “peak oil” is a product of the theory of supply and demand. If there wasn’t enough food in the US and someone told you planting more food is a waste of time, would you believe it? Likely not! While comparing these two commodities isn’t apples to apples, it’s close enough.

    As I said above, this economy is based on oil and our ability to manufacture goods, transport food from one region to another and live the life we have become accustomed to is based solely on oil. So we have some big choices to make rather quickly. We make huge changes to our lifestyle and give up on oil completely [ie. No Oil Drilling] or we do what any intelligent group of people would do. We burn the candle at both ends. By this I mean we conserve, we explore and drill for oil and we develop alternatives to oil, all at the same time. I think the people of the US are a bunch of extremely smart people who can multi-task this energy problem while still maintaining a reasonable lifestyle.

    It is my belief that if we don’t explore any and all options when it comes to feeding this nations thirst for energy/oil in the short term, life will get increasingly unpleasant for the poor and middle class of this nation. The rich and super rich people that are persecuted in the “Wildlife News” website on a daily basis will make out just fine. Alternatives energy resource development is a great idea and I hope we move that direction rapidly. But how is 10 billion “gazillihertz” of wind and solar power produced in 2030 going to help this nation until then? There will have to be a lot of compromise until that alternative energy resource we all talk about becomes a reality. I’m not worried about 15-20 years from now as much as I am worried about the present and near term future. This sentiment is echoed by my friends, family and co-workers.

  2. Wyo Native Avatar
    Wyo Native

    Interesting poll Brian.

    I find it interesting that even though the poll shows that a majority of people do not believe that drilling will lower their gas prices, a majority still support drilling.

  3. Jim Avatar

    Nice post TimothyB

  4. JB Avatar

    TimothyB: The problem is that the amount of oil we are talking about being able to recover in the U.S. is insignificant when compared with the amount of oil we are importing and using everyday. Using your grain/food analogy, it is akin planting 100 acres of crops to address a food crisis that requires 1 million acres of production. Untapped domestic oil sources are a drop in the bucket compared with what we “need”. Moreover, there’s a significant delay associated with the recovery of new oil sources; that is, we need to find, tap, extract, and process these “new” reserves, which will likely take several years to a decade. You have already conceded that your primary concern is for the short term; new leases for exploration simply are NOT going to help in the short term.

    I’m not saying we should end all drilling or even end new oil leases. I’m saying that the claim that increases in domestic oil production are going to help with the current crisis are specious; oh they will help, but it’ll be a drop in the bucket! Is it worth it to drill ANWR to save 2 cents per gallon on $5 gasoline 10 years from now? I don’t think so. I would rather see money invested in developing renewable sources of energy then making oil companies and our good friends in Saudi Arabia even richer than they already are.

  5. Jon Way Avatar

    Well put JB!

  6. Ed Avatar

    The key here is that the only thing, the ONLY thing, that will change our energy consumption is having if affect us where it hurts, the wallet. Until gas is really expensive we won’t have any of the changes needed such as truly fuel effecient vehicles, more locally produced products to stem transportation costs and people decreasing their consumption of just about everything they use due to costs associated with fuel. As such, we probably have several more years of economic redefinition coming in this country. We are like a grown child having to still learn things the hard way. Had we planned ahead back in the 70s and 80s we would be much more prepared for today’s fuel issues.

  7. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Well they just reported on the news, that in the first 7 months of ’08 Americans have drove 40.9 billion miles less than the previous year! Seems some are trying to do their part..

    But I do agree, there is really no short term solution to this situation, it is going to take a strong effort at conserving as we work to develop more efficient forms of energy..

  8. JB Avatar

    Ed said: “Had we planned ahead back in the 70s and 80s we would be much more prepared for today’s fuel issues.”

    Ralph could address this better than I, but Jimmy Carter DID plan back in the 1970s, unfortunately Reagan threw all of that planning out the window, famously removing the solar panels on the White House. I’m not one of those people that tries to blame all of the ills of society on the Republican party, but if the shoe fits…

  9. Alan Sachanowski Avatar

    What Ed says is so sad, but true. We should have gotten a clue years ago, during the ’70s oil embargo. Some people did, but their voices were drowned out. Instead we progressed from the station wagons of our parents to the vans of our older siblings, to the SUV’s, pickups and Hummers of today.
    Now, much as Claude Rains was “shocked” to see that gambling was occurring in Rick’s Cafe’, as he collected his winnings, General Motors and Ford stand in disbelief as they realize that these vehicles are no longer selling in the face of five dollar a gallon gas; and it will take them at least two years to re-tool toward hybrids etc.
    The one thing that Timothy writes above that is starkly true is, “life will get increasingly unpleasant for the poor and middle class of this nation” as prices continue to rise. Personally, though I know that it is very unlikely, I would rather see gas rationing similar to what we had during the embargo, then watch as seniors are forced to make the choice between going to the doctor or putting food on the table. Consumption may be down, but living near Yellowstone as I do, I am still watching as six and eight mile per gallon behemoths fill the campgrounds. Sharing the pain is a concept long lost to the majority in this country. We have come a long way from the sacrifices of our parents and grandparents during WWII. Today, we know little of such things. As a society we care little that some seniors are forced to eat boxed macaroni and cheese for dinner seven nights a week, or that some die of heat stroke because they cannot afford to turn on the air conditioner, or huddle under blankets during winter because they cannot afford heating oil. Why should we care that they cannot afford to put gasoline in their cars?
    At best, drilling and destroying every last pristine place will only delay the inevitable. We are running out of oil. The time is here to deal with it; and not, like so many cowards, pass it off to our children and grandchildren.
    Some answers are already out there. A company called Aptera is coming out with a three wheeled car that exceeds government safety standards and not only gets 100 mpg but is one hot automobile! Problem: only legal in California.
    Honda has a car, the FCX Clarity that runs on hydrogen fuel cells, has a range of 280 miles, and emits zero emissions, just plain water. Once again only available in California. Why? Because of a lack of repair facilities and fuel stations elsewhere. What perfect commute vehicles! Just imagine how much gasoline would be saved if only half of the commuters in this country were driving one or the other of these vehicles! Only 25%! This is where our future lies. This is where our money should be going, not into squeezing every last drop of oil out of every last pristine place while only delaying the inevitable.

  10. sal Avatar

    We just need to get over this “temper-tantrum” mindset of the idea that we can have it all and, by gosh I’m GONNA get it all regardless of whom I have to hurt to get it.

    Contrary to popular marketing strategies, you may be an american but you CANNOT have it all. there’s no such thing.

    We were sold a dream and for some stuipid reason, we still think the snake oil is good for us…

    The technology has been out there for a long time now, it’s just that the oil interests buy up all patents that belong to alternative power sources that might hamper their deathgrip on our lives. Happened to the cool inventions my dad created…

  11. Ed Avatar

    Excellent posts by Alan and Sal. The underlying problem to all of these issues is there are more people vying for the same amount of limited resources. With the gas situation its only been because the rest of the globe recently caught up with us in demand. Its the same with the food crisis and ultimately with all of the environmental issues. If we don’t want to talk about some form or fashion of population control, we have to learn to deal with a smaller portion of everything for each one of us.

  12. SmokyMtMan Avatar

    TimothyB, excellent post. I agree with much of what you said.

    Save Bears wrote: “Well they just reported on the news, that in the first 7 months of ‘08 Americans have drove 40.9 billion miles less than the previous year! Seems some are trying to do their part..”

    During testimony to Congress recently, T. Boone Pickens stated that in the last months, the U.S. has reduced it’s per-day consumption of oil by 700,00 barrels.

    Unfortunately, China and Asia have increased their use by about 700,000 barrels in the same time period.

    At this point, the U.S. ability to conserve its way to lower oil prices is significantly decreased as compared to 10-20 years ago.

    Which is when a realistic and responsible alternative energy policy should have begun.

    I fear we are too late. We are going to go through some severe economic pain in the short-term before we can bring alternative fuels up to where they off-set oil use.

    Whose fault will that be? Ours. We have elected these politicians that have not addressed these needs, because of the simple fact we as voters have never forced them to.

    In a democracy, you get what you deserve.

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Brian Ertz