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Study shows more than twice as many Americans support alternative energy over fossil fuels, including two thirds of moderate republicans


Pew Research Center has released the most recent results of their yearly survey asking Americans their opinions on energy development.  In it, a large majority of Americans – 65% – give priority to developing alternative energy over fossil fuels.  Less than half as many – 27% – think that we should be expanding production of oil, coal and natural gas. The number of Americans supporting alternative energy in the survey has been consistently high since Pew started asking this question, and has been increasing since 2013.

While there are political differences of opinion, with Republicans and conservatives supporting alternative energy in smaller numbers than Democrats and liberals, even moderate Republicans support alternative energy by a wide majority – 65% (vs. 28% supporting fossil fuel expansion).  Conservative republicans are the only group for which a small majority supports fossil fuels as a priority, with 54% saying so.

Americans of all age groups also support alternative energy.  The large support comes from the youngest Americans, those most likely to see the positive long-term environmental effects from alternative energy development, with 75% supporting alternative energy and only 19% supporting fossil fuels. But even the oldest Americans, over 65 years old, find more support for alternative energy – 50% – and only 38% of that age group support fossil fuels.

In a previous survey from last year, Americans overwhelmingly agreed that solar and wind should be expanded, with 89% and 83% respectively, and only 9% and 14% opposing the expansion of these energy sources.  Meanwhile, a majority of Americans opposed the expansion of every other energy source surveyed, including offshore drilling, nuclear power plants, fracking and coal mining. In that survey, Americans of all political backgrounds were more likely to support solar and wind than they were to support any of the other four energy sources.

It is clear that Americans consistently support alternative energy by wide margins, throughout age ranges and across the political spectrum. It is up to this country’s representatives to follow through on their constituents’ wishes and support alternative energy development in every way possible.

edit: some comments below have asked to see the exact wording of the question.  It’s linked at the bottom of the Pew article, in this document.  The specific wording is: “Right now, which ONE of the following do you think should be the more important priority for addressing America’s energy supply?” and the choices were “Developing alternative sources such as, wind, solar and hydrogen technology”, “Expanding exploration and production of oil, coal and natural gas”, “Both should be given equal priority” or “don’t know/refuse to answer.”  The order in which the answers were read was randomized, as is common in these surveys.

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Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for since 2016.

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