cloudy
Thursday February 11th, 2016 1:34AM

Poll: Americans know how to save energy, but balk

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - When it comes to saving energy, people in the United States know that driving a fuel-efficient car accomplishes more than turning off the lights at home.

But that doesn't mean they'll do it.

A new poll shows that while most of those questioned understand effective ways to save energy, they have a hard time adopting them.

Six in 10 surveyed say driving a more fuel-efficient car would save a large amount of energy, but only 1 in 4 says that's easy to do, according to the poll by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. People also are skeptical of carpooling or installing better home insulation, rating them as effective but impractical.

On the other end of spectrum, 8 in 10 say they easily can turn off the lights when they leave a room, and 6 in 10 have no problem turning up the thermostat in summer or down in winter, although fewer than half think those easy steps save large amounts of energy.

Even those who support conservation don't always practice it.

Cindy Shriner, a retired teacher from Lafayette, Ind., buys energy-efficient light bulbs and her 2009 Subaru Impreza gets nearly 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

Still, she keeps her house at about 73 degrees year-round, despite government recommendations to turn thermostats to 68 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in summer.

"I'm terrible," Shriner, 60, said in an interview. "In all honesty we have extreme weather in all seasons" in Indiana, she said, and her thermostat settings keep her comfortable.

Her parents recently qualified for a grant under the economic stimulus law that paid for a new furnace and insulation, Shriner said. She said such programs are important to improve energy conservation.

The public looks to large institutions for leadership in saving energy, believing that individuals alone can't make much of a difference. Nearly two-thirds look to the energy industry to show the way toward energy conservation, and nearly 6 in 10 say the government should play a leading role. Democrats, college graduates and people under 50 are the most likely to hold industry is responsible for increasing energy savings.

The poll, paid for by a grant to the AP-NORC Center from the Joyce Foundation, shows that just 4 in 10 questioned think their own actions can significantly affect the country's energy problems. Some 15 percent say individual actions make "a very large difference," while 7 percent say individual action makes no difference at all.

On some energy topics, people are in the dark.

Only 1 in 3 reports knowing a lot or a great deal about the government's Energy Star product labels, which are meant to help consumers choose energy-efficient appliances and other products. Even fewer, 25 percent, report detailed knowledge about fuel-efficiency standards for cars. Not even 20 percent know a lot or a great deal about rebates for energy-saving products, home renovation tax credits or home energy audits.

About 6 in 10 people cite lack of knowledge about energy-saving products as a major reason they don't do more to conserve.

Jennifer Celestino, 29, of Buffalo, N.Y., said she might do more if she knew how much energy she was using compared with her neighbors.

"If you had information that says, `Hey, your household uses more than the typical house in your ZIP code,' that would get my attention," said Celestino, a workforce analyst at an insurance company.

Lacking hard data, nearly half of those questioned say they use somewhat or a lot less energy than others in their community, while only 9 percent think their consumption is above average.

Overall energy use by people in the United States is four times the world average, according to the Energy Information Administration, but Americans use less energy per person than people in countries such as Canada, Norway and Iceland. Average energy use by Americans declined by about 9 percent from 2005 to 2009, largely because of increased efficiency of appliances and machinery, and the economic downturn, the EIA said.

Dori Spaulding, a stay-at-home mom from Niceville, Fla., worries about high energy bills, particularly in the summer, but says her hometown "is a hot place and we have small kids." Her home windows are not as efficient as they should be, Spaulding said, but they aren't broken and "I don't have 10 grand to replace the windows."

Spaulding, 33, said she and her husband, an Air Force pilot, have considered buying a hybrid or electric car. But for now they drive a minivan and station wagon. She said she needs the room for her two children and the triathlon club she leads, but acknowledged that the vehicles fit her lifestyle.

"I think that Americans want what we want, and we want it now," she said.

The survey was conducted from March 29 to April 25. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,008 adults nationwide and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Business News
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 3 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 3 years ago )
U.S. News
Ga. ethics legislation could end free tickets
General Assembly approval next year of a proposed ethics reform measure could endanger an important fall tradition for Georgia lawmakers - free football tickets.
6:26PM ( 3 years ago )
Abortion restrictions, tax changes loom in Ga.
Tax breaks for manufacturers and higher unemployment taxes for employers take effect with the new year in Georgia, but it remains to be seen whether the state's newest abortion restrictions will be enforced.
6:23PM ( 3 years ago )
Business News
New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain are emerging
WASHINGTON (AP) — New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect preg...
6:22PM ( 7 hours ago )
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that spread it here and abroad, but says "there s...
10:40PM ( 2 days ago )
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 5 days ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 1 week ago )
Cruz (R) expected to claim conservative Iowa caucus victory, with Clinton (D) and Sanders (D) deadlocked among liberal vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race.
By The Associated Press
10:55PM ( 1 week ago )