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Younger Americans More Supportive of Exporting Natural Gas Than Older Americans

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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The new UT Energy Poll data is out today! Here I’ll highlight changing American attitudes related to the export of natural gas.

The infographic above shows a snapshot of current survey responses collected March 3-­17 among 2,133 U.S. residents aged 18 and older*.

The first thing I notice is that younger Americans are much more likely to support  natural gas export than older Americans. It makes me wonder if this may reflect older respondents’ memories of living through the 1970s energy crisis.

Republicans and Libertarians are also more likely than Democrats and Independents to support natural gas export, but age seems to be the most influential factor we observe in the data.

Looking at the data over time [not pictured], support for export has increased during the past year from 28 to 37 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who disagree has decreased from 39 to 28 percent. Still, nearly one third of Americans remain neutral, which is not surprising giving energy literacy among the public remains low.

Why are we seeing increased support for natural gas export? It’s possible that these trends may reflect the current media attention to Russian energy and the crisis in Ukraine. We can’t be sure, but it will be interesting to see the Fall data in six months…


* Data from the poll were weighted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income based on U.S. Census Bureau figures, as well as propensity scores, to ensure the sample’s composition reflects the actual U.S. population. MOE for this wave is 3.0

This post originally appeared at Scientific American’s ‘Plugged In

Sheril Kirshenbaum About the Author: Sheril Kirshenbaum is Director of The Energy Poll at The University of Texas at Austin where she works to enhance public understanding of energy issues and improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Follow on Twitter @Sheril_.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. jerryd 4:39 pm 04/30/2014

    Why is the propaganda we have so much NG we can afford too. But many don’t understand our NG production will peak in about 2022 when tight wells can no longer be sustained because they drop 50% output/yr!!

    We’ll increase NG use by 3x’s in the next 15 yrs as it replaces coal and oil as it should. Thus our reserves were done at 2005 yr rates which have already increased a lot, thus cutting our NG supply to more like 30 yrs.

    Plus it over doubles the cost, $7/mmbtu, just so liquidfy and ship it. It’s present price of $4-5/mmbtu on top of that make it close to the cost of oil after shipping.

    It doesn’t make any sense to export NG other than corporate welfare, greed as certainly not good for our country.

    What Europe needs is pipelines from N Africa, ME, the low cost way to transport of much closer supplies.

    Link to this
  2. 2. rufusgwarren 4:53 pm 04/30/2014

    Permission to export is not permission to drill.

    Link to this

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