The U.S. is too dependent on imported oil, and readers of BusinessWeek Online are willing to help solve that problem by encouraging conservation -- or conserving themselves. Those are the main findings of our Feb. 14 Reader Survey.
Some 89% of the 900-plus readers who responded feel that it's either very important or somewhat important to cut imports of oil below the current 55%.
Readers were divided on who's most responsible for the country's continued dependence on foreign oil, with 38% citing the government for not pushing hard enough for conservation, about 24% blaming the free-market system for providing energy that's too cheap, and 19% putting the onus on consumers for being energy wastrels.
However, they reached a consensus on the solutions. Some 83% think increased energy conservation is absolutely essential, 85% say they would be willing to adjust their lifestyles to conserve energy, and 91% would be willing to buy products that are more energy-efficient. Moreover, 86% said they would be likely to conserve more conscientiously if they had to pay significantly more for energy.
Here are the detailed results, which as always are unscientific, since anyone who wished to could participate:
The U.S. now imports 55% of its oil. How important do you think it is to lessen that percentage?
Who do you think is primarily responsible for perpetuating the country's dependence on imported oil?
The government, by not pushing hard enough for conservation
Consumers, for wasting too much energy
Big U.S. companies, for wasting energy and making products that use energy inefficiently
The free market, for providing energy so cheaply that no one has an incentive to conserve
Do you think that increased energy conservation is:
Nice, but not essential
Not very essential at all
Would you be willing to adjust your lifestyle to help conserve energy?
Would you be willing to buy energy-efficient products so the U.S. could import less oil?
If you had to pay significantly more for energy (gasoline, electricity, fuels for heating and cooling). would you be likely to conserve?