Americans feel vulnerable over foreign oil
October 26, 1998
By Environmental News Network staff
(ENN) -- American voters rate the efforts of elected officials to reduce United States dependence on foreign oil as "only fair" or "poor," according to a poll released Wednesday by the Sustainable Energy Coalition.
More than four out of five registered voters believe that the United States is still vulnerable to an energy crisis that could be caused by foreign nations shutting off their oil supplies to this country.
According to the poll, most Americans remember the energy crisis of the 1970s and are aware that the United States now imports more than half of its oil -- 53 percent -- as compared to a third in 1973.
"The poll released today shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that rising oil imports are a threat to our economic, environmental and national security," said Bill Richardson, Secretary of the Department of Energy.
Approximately 80 percent of voters polled favor raising fuel efficiency standards for automobiles and sports utility vehicles as well as expanding the use of alternative fuel vehicles.
On the other hand, 57 percent of voters oppose opening new oil drilling in restricted or protected U.S. oil areas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt signed a plan on Oct. 8 that opens the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to development.
"Americans know the nation's dependence on oil imports is a serious problem and getting worse," said Reid Detchon, co-director of the American Bioenergy Association. "They recognize that the best solutions are improved fuel efficiency standards and the development of alternative, cleaner fuels."
Richardson said that the Department of Energy is focused on creating a more fuel efficient America through the development of new transportation fuels and power plants.
"The Energy Department is working to address issues, as today's poll shows, that the public considers to be important -- expanded options for clean energy, using energy more efficiently, and cutting pollution," Richardson said.
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