Looks like the bite of higher fuel prices is finally leaving its teeth marks on the collective public, with a sizable chunk of people cutting back on gas usage and curtailing summer vacation plans, according to an annual energy survey released today by RBC Capital Markets.
According to the nationwide poll of 1,007 Americans, 76% said they're driving less and 19% said they're using or plan to use public transportation more often. In addition, 40% of workers are considering moving closer to their place of employment.
"The issues Americans are facing as a result of the current energy crisis have prompted not only a change in their attitudes, but also changes in their actual behavior as they try to manage the impact on their daily lives," said Kurt Hallead, RBC Capital Markets' director of global energy research.
Overall, 90% of respondents say they've made some changes to their daily lives to offset higher energy prices. When it comes to vacations, half of them said they're either staying locally or not vacationing at all. Among folks with incomes exceeding $100,000, nearly half (48%) say they're eating out less and 21% are saving less for retirement.
Meanwhile, 82% said they might purchase a hybrid the next time they buy a vehicle. But that's not to say higher energy prices are turning everyone into a born-again environmentalist. While 60% believe their personal activities have a meaningful impact on global warming, 20% say they aren't doing anything about it. And 58% say they'd rather keep the green in their pockets rather than participate in green initiatives.
Elsewhere, 71% of Americans say they'd support an alternative energy system-including wind or solar-in their hometown (up from 58% last year), and 34% would support a clean coal technology plant (up from 27%), 32% would support a liquefied natural gas facility (up from 25%) and 21% would support a nuclear power plant (up from 17%).
That said, 59% supports drilling for oil along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts or in the Arctic.
The survey was conducted May 17-23.