Voters back more oil, gas development, API-commissioned poll finds

A majority of registered US voters support more US oil and gas development and are more likely to back a candidate who shares that view, a survey commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute found. “This makes clear that the American people want a national energy policy that expands the gains we’ve made in the last few years,” API Pres. Jack N. Gerard said at a June 21 event where the poll’s results were released.

Harris Poll conducted the telephone survey of 1,001 voters May 10-15. Of the respondents, 47% were men and 53% were women. By political party, 31% said they voted Republican, 31% said Democrat, 24% said Independent, 9% said other, 2% were not sure, and 3% declined to answer. Results were weighted to be representative of registered voters nationwide.

Of the respondents, 69% said they were more likely to vote for a candidate who supports developing more oil and gas; and 73% (79% of the Democrats and 69% of the Republicans) back a national energy policy that assures a secure supply of abundant, affordable, and available energy developed and produced in an environmentally responsible manner.

“We’re increasing our energy production in a growing, albeit slowly, economy while reducing our carbon emissions. It’s a national position that’s unique in the world,” Gerard said.

The survey’s results also showed that:

• 80% (including 75% of the Democrats, 91% of the Republicans, and 81% of the Independents) said increased access to US oil and gas resources could help reduce consumers’ energy costs.

• 73% (including 63% of Democrats, 80% of Republicans, and 78% of Independents) believe federal regulations can contribute to increased retail gasoline costs.

• 77% support more US oil and gas production.

• 77% think it is important that the US is doing better than all of the other major economies when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and 70% support natural gas’s role in this reduction.

• 82% supported increased development of the country’s energy infrastructure.

• On the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, 77% were concerned about government requirements that would increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline, given the fact most motor vehicle manufacturers don’t warrant their products against potential damages from higher ethanol concentrations.

• 71% oppose legislation that could increase the cost of oil and gas operations, potentially driving up energy costs for consumers.

• 64% oppose higher taxes that could decrease investment in energy production and reduce energy development.

“The test that any proposed energy policy or imposed government regulation should satisfy is: will it make energy more affordable for the consumer; is it better for the environment; does it grow our economy; and will it enhance our national security?” Gerard said. “If not, then it clearly isn’t what’s best for our nation, our environment or America’s energy future.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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