A new national survey and report by Makovsky, entitled How Americans Make Energy Decisions – And the Sources and Channels They Trust the Most, has been recently released. The full study can be accessed here.

As discussed in the Oil & Gas 360 article, New Survey Shows that Americans Significantly Overestimate Renewable Energy's Role in Powering the Nation, the results reflect a big difference between perception and reality.

As someone who consistently overestimates things (IE: "my car is parked 5 miles from here;" "that trout I caught was at least 29 inches long;" "I am a whiz, practically a professional, on skis, skates, etc. – you name it," said while hiding my skinned up and bruised knee), I found the results of this survey particularly interesting.

Here are a few takeaways from the survey and the Oil & Gas 360 article discussing the same:

  1. Americans considerably overestimate renewable energy's role in the U.S.'s overall energy use and seriously underestimate the role of coal, oil and natural gas now and in the future.
  • The survey found that, "In 2016, solar and wind together made up just 3% of U.S. energy consumption, while survey respondents put the figure at 20%."
  • "Furthermore, respondents predict that wind and solar will make up 34% of energy consumption in five years; however, the experts predict that they will be less than 5% of our energy consumption."
  1. The most interesting statistic in the survey was about coal, oil and natural gas usage:
  • "And, although coal, oil and natural gas together comprise 87% of energy used today, survey respondents estimated them at 69% of the mix – underestimating how much these fossil fuels still dominate today's energy mix by about 20%."
  1. Biggest takeaway: Americans do not appreciate that coal, oil and natural gas are the primary energy sources in the U.S.
  • "More specifically, Americans viewed the nation's dependency on oil to be in a trend of decline, providing only 20% of our energy needs in five years, an eight-point drop from current perceptions." According to the survey, coal is perceived to be experiencing a similar decrease in five years.
  • The survey provides that in reality, however, the EIA's forecasts tell a different tale. "EIA forecasts that oil and coal use will be about the same as they are today [in five years]."
  1. TV is king.  The good thing is that Americans are interested in news related to the energy industry – TV news rated as our main source of energy information in the survey. The conclusion of the survey is that energy companies must realize these incorrect perceptions and address them head on in their marketing efforts.

Perception can be misleading...it is vital that we understand the roles of oil, natural gas, coal, solar and wind energy.

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