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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Lifestyle arrow WSJ.com/Harris Interactive Poll Finds That Eighty Percent Of U.S. Adults Have Made Changes To...
WSJ.com/Harris Interactive Poll Finds That Eighty Percent Of U.S. Adults Have Made Changes To... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harris Interactive   
24 Jul 2007

WSJ.com/Harris Interactive Poll Finds That Eighty Percent Of U.S. Adults Have Made Changes To Their Lifestyles Due To Rising Gas Costs

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – July 25, 2007— Rising gas costs continue to be a controversial issue all across the United States and the impact is felt by many adults. Eight in 10 U.S. adults say they have made changes to their lifestyles due to rising gas costs, with nearly six in 10 minimizing non-critical travel, 40 percent adjusting their spending habits and 32 percent putting a hold on leisure road-trip travel.

Females are more likely to have made changes to their lifestyle due to the rising cost of gas (84% vs. 75% for men) and are more likely to have minimized non-critical travel (61% vs. 56%) and adjusted their spending habits (44% vs. 37%). Older adults (those ages 45 to 54 and 55 and over) are more likely to minimize non-critical travel (65% and 64% respectively vs. 50% of 18 to 34).Younger respondents (ages 18 to 34) are more likely to have driven further to find cheaper gas (15% vs. 9% for 55 and over) and participated in a car pool (13% vs. 5% for 55 and over).

These are just some of the results of an online survey of 2,057 U.S. adults ages 18 and over conducted by Harris Interactive® between June 19 and 21, 2007 for The Wall Street Journal Online.

Alternatives To Energy Consumption: Fuels and Hybrid Car Purchases

The vast majority of adults (94%) believe it is important to reduce the energy consumption from automobile use. Nearly eight out of 10 consider it important to encourage the development and use of alternative fuels and almost three-quarters believe it is important to increase the fuel efficiency standards on all vehicles. Women are more likely to consider it important to reduce consumption from automobile use (96% vs. 91% for men), develop communities that are more conducive to walking/biking (45% vs. 31%), encourage car pooling (47% vs. 37%) or the development/use of alternative fuels (82% vs. 75%) and increase fuel efficiency standards (76% vs. 69%).

Those ages 35 to 44 are most likely to consider it important to develop and use alternative fuels (83%), while respondents 18 to 34 are least likely (73%) to say this or even to consider it important to increase fuel efficiency standards on vehicles (69%). This could be due to a fear that the cost of automobiles will rise as the costs of conserving energy are passed on.

Among those who intend to purchase or lease a new vehicle, forty-nine percent would consider a hybrid vehicle. Respondents ages 18 to 34 who also intend to purchase/lease are significantly more likely (31%) to consider a gasoline-fueled vehicle than older respondents 45 to 54 and 55 and over (24% and 25% respectively). Respondents in the lowest income group, less than $35K, and in the highest income group, more than $75K, all of whom are planning to purchase/lease are less likely to consider a gas-fueled vehicle (21% and 25% respectively) compared to respondents who earn $35K-$49.9K (34%).

The Government’s Role

Female respondents are more likely to believe the government has a responsibility to engage in energy conservation. In particular, over nine in 10 females believe the government should encourage greater fuel efficiency (compared to 84% of males) and 83% of females believe the government should mandate higher fuel standards (compared to 75% of males).

TABLE 1A

IMPORTANT STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING ENERGY CONSUMPTION—BY AGE

"Among the following strategies for reducing energy consumption from automobile use in the U.S., which efforts do you consider important?"

Base: All Adults

 

Total

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

N=2057

N=615

N=250

N=336

N=856

%

%

%

%

%

Any (NET)

94

90

94

95

95

Encouraging the development and use of alternative fuels

79

73

83

80

80

Increasing fuel efficiency standards on all vehicles

73

69

73

69

77

Increasing the development and encouraging use of public transit

51

43

54

53

54

Enhancing tax credits or offering incentives to encourage driving more fuel-efficient cars

47

46

46

47

48

Encouraging more car pooling

42

41

40

37

46

Developing communities that are more conducive to walking and biking

38

39

43

39

35

Creating a tax on driving

5

6

5

3

5

None of these

6

10

6

5

5

TABLE 1B

IMPORTANT STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING ENERGY CONSUMPTION—BY GENDER

"Among the following strategies for reducing energy consumption from automobile use in the U.S., which efforts do you consider important?"

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Male

Female

N=2057

N=1010

N=1047

%

%

%

Any (NET)

94

91

96

Encouraging the development and use of alternative fuels

79

75

82

Increasing fuel efficiency standards on all vehicles

73

69

76

Increasing the development and encouraging use of public transit

51

48

54

Enhancing tax credits or offering incentives to encourage driving more fuel-efficient cars

47

45

48

Encouraging more car pooling

42

37

47

Developing communities that are more conducive to walking and biking

38

31

45

Creating a tax on driving

5

7

3

None of these

6

9

4

TABLE 1C

IMPORTANT STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING ENERGY CONSUMPTION—BY EDUCATION

"Among the following strategies for reducing energy consumption from automobile use in the U.S., which efforts do you consider important?"

Base: All Adults

 

Total

H.S.
or
Less

Some
Col.

Col.
Grad+

N=2057

N=233

N=778

N=1046

%

%

%

%

Any (NET)

94

91

95

97

Encouraging the development and use of alternative fuels

79

74

81

81

Increasing fuel efficiency standards on all vehicles

73

65

77

78

Increasing the development and encouraging use of public transit

51

37

53

65

Enhancing tax credits or offering incentives to encourage driving more fuel-efficient cars

47

38

49

56

Encouraging more car pooling

42

43

38

44

Developing communities that are more conducive to walking and biking

38

26

40

52

Creating a tax on driving

5

4

4

7

None of these

6

9

5

3

TABLE 1D

IMPORTANT STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING ENERGY CONSUMPTION—BY INCOME

"Among the following strategies for reducing energy consumption from automobile use in the U.S., which efforts do you consider important?"

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Less
Than
$35K

$35K
-
$49.9K

$50K
-
$74.9K

$75K+

N=2057

N=430

N=257

N=378

N=597

%

%

%

%

%

Any (Net)

94

93

93

96

97

Encouraging the development and use of alternative fuels

79

79

82

81

80

Increasing fuel efficiency standards on all vehicles

73

76

68

79

71

Increasing the development and encouraging use of public transit

51

48

49

50

59

Enhancing tax credits or offering incentives to encourage driving more fuel-efficient cars

47

43

50

49

52

Encouraging more car pooling

42

47

41

35

41

Developing communities that are more conducive to walking and biking

38

39

38

40

41

Creating a tax on driving

5

3

6

1

8

None of these

6

7

7

4

3

TABLE 2

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBILITY—BY GENDER

"Do you believe the federal government has the responsibility to...?"

Summary of Yes

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Male

Female

N=2057

N=1010

N=1047

%

%

%

Encourage greater fuel efficiency

87

84

91

Encourage reduced energy consumption

81

80

83

Mandate higher fuel standards

79

75

83

TABLE 3A

CHANGES DUE TO RISING GAS COSTS—BY AGE

"Given rising gas costs, which of the following changes have you made?"

Base: All Adults

 

Total

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

N=2057

N=615

N=250

N=336

N=856

%

%

%

%

%

Made Changes Due To Rising Gas Costs (NET)

80

78

80

85

79

Minimized non-critical travel

59

50

57

65

64

Adjusted my spending habits to compensate for the increased cost of gas

40

38

51

52

32

Put a hold on leisure road-trip travel

32

30

29

36

34

Bike or walk when I can

21

26

18

24

16

Drive farther to find cheaper gas

12

15

12

11

9

Increased use of public transportation

10

10

13

12

7

Participated in a car pool

8

13

6

8

5

Exchanged my vehicle for a smaller car

6

5

5

8

6

Purchased or leased a hybrid

3

2

2

3

4

Other

6

7

6

5

6

I haven't made any changes due to rising gas costs.

20

22

20

15

21

TABLE 3B

CHANGES DUE TO RISING GAS COSTS—BY GENDER

"Given rising gas costs, which of the following changes have you made?"

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Male

Female

 

N=2057

N=1010

N=1047

%

%

%

Made Changes Due To Rising Gas Costs (NET)

80

75

84

Minimized non-critical travel

59

56

61

Adjusted my spending habits to compensate for the increased cost of gas

40

37

44

Put a hold on leisure road-trip travel

32

31

33

Bike or walk when I can

21

22

20

Drive farther to find cheaper gas

12

10

14

Increased use of public transportation

10

10

9

Participated in a car pool

8

6

10

Exchanged my vehicle for a smaller car

6

7

5

Purchased or leased a hybrid

3

3

3

Other

6

5

7

I haven't made any changes due to rising gas costs.

20

25

16

TABLE 3C

CHANGES DUE TO RISING GAS COSTS—BY EDUCATION

"Given rising gas costs, which of the following changes have you made?"

Base: All Adults

 

Total

H.S.
or
Less

Some
Col.

Col.
Grad+

N=2057

N=233

N=778

N=1046

%

%

%

%

Made Changes Due To Rising Gas Costs (NET)

80

78

81

81

Minimized non-critical travel

59

58

59

60

Adjusted my spending habits to compensate for the increased cost of gas

40

40

46

34

Put a hold on leisure road-trip travel

32

35

34

28

Bike or walk when I can

21

13

23

28

Drive farther to find cheaper gas

12

11

12

13

Increased use of public transportation

10

6

11

13

Participated in a car pool

8

9

9

6

Exchanged my vehicle for a smaller car

6

4

8

6

Purchased or leased a hybrid

3

1

4

3

Other

6

5

5

9

I haven't made any changes due to rising gas costs.

20

22

19

19

TABLE 3D

CHANGES DUE TO RISING GAS COSTS—BY INCOME

"Given rising gas costs, which of the following changes have you made?"

Base: All Adults

 

Total

Less
Than
$35K

$35K
-
$49.9K

$50K
-
$74.9K

$75K+

N=2057

N=430

N=257

N=378

N=597

%

%

%

%

%

Made Changes Due To Rising Gas Costs (NET)

80

84

78

81

80

Minimized non-critical travel

59

60

61

64

57

Adjusted my spending habits to compensate for the increased cost of gas

40

46

41

44

35

Put a hold on leisure road-trip travel

32

40

32

36

26

Bike or walk when I can

21

24

18

15

21

Drive farther to find cheaper gas

12

11

13

14

11

Increased use of public transportation

10

12

7

5

11

Participated in a car pool

8

12

8

5

8

Exchanged my vehicle for a smaller car

6

6

5

6

6

Purchased or leased a hybrid

3

1

4

2

5

Other

6

6

8

6

5

I haven't made any changes due to rising gas costs.

20

16

22

19

20

TABLE 4A

PURCHASING OR LEASING CONSIDERATIONS—BY AGE

"Thinking about the next new vehicle that you might consider for purchase or lease, which of the following are you most likely to consider?"

Base: Intend to Purchase/Lease New Vehicle

 

Total

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

N=1498

N=458

N=199

N=259

N=582

%

%

%

%

%

Would Consider Any (Sub-Net)

98

99

99

97

98

Hybrid vehicle (e.g., vehicle that uses a combination of both a gas engine and electric motor)

49

49

53

49

49

Gasoline-fueled vehicle (e.g., vehicle that runs on gasoline only)

27

31

26

24

25

Ethanol-fueled vehicle (e.g., vehicle that runs on unleaded gasoline and ethanol fuel mixture)

12

10

9

12

14

Diesel-fueled vehicle (e.g., vehicle that runs on diesel fuel only)

6

5

8

7

6

Electric vehicle

4

4

4

5

4

I would not consider any of these.

2

1

1

3

2

TABLE 4B

PURCHASING OR LEASING CONSIDERATIONS—BY EDUCATION

"Thinking about the next new vehicle that you might consider for purchase or lease, which of the following are you most likely to consider?"

Base: Intend to Purchase/Lease New Vehicle

 

Total

H.S.
or
Less

Some
Col.

Col.
Grad+

N=1498

N=130

N=528

N=840

%

%

%

%

Would Consider Any (Sub-Net)

98

98

97

99

Hybrid vehicle (e.g., vehicle that uses a combination of both a gas engine and electric motor)

49

42

43

55

Gasoline-fueled vehicle (e.g., vehicle that runs on gasoline only)

27

35

26

26

Ethanol-fueled vehicle (e.g., vehicle that runs on unleaded gasoline and ethanol fuel mixture)

12

10

17

9

Diesel-fueled vehicle (e.g., vehicle that runs on diesel fuel only)

6

8

7

5

Electric vehicle

4

2

4

4

I would not consider any of these.

2

2

3

1

TABLE 4C

PURCHASING OR LEASING CONSIDERATIONS—BY INCOME

"Thinking about the next new vehicle that you might consider for purchase or lease, which of the following are you most likely to consider?"

Base: Base: Intend to Purchase/Lease New Vehicle

 

Total

Less
Than
$35K

$35K
-
$49.9K

$50K
-
$74.9K

$75K+

N=1498

N=257

N=184

N=295

N=499

%

%

%

%

%

Would Consider Any (Sub-Net)

98

97

98

99

99

Hybrid vehicle (e.g., vehicle that uses a combination of both a gas engine and electric motor)

49

48

46

49

53

Gasoline-fueled vehicle (e.g., vehicle that runs on gasoline only)

27

21

34

27

25

Ethanol-fueled vehicle (e.g., vehicle that runs on unleaded gasoline and ethanol fuel mixture)

12

16

12

12

10

Diesel-fueled vehicle (e.g., vehicle that runs on diesel fuel only)

6

7

3

8

6

Electric vehicle

4

5

4

3

4

I would not consider any of these.

2

3

2

1

1

Methodology

Harris Interactive® conducted online within the United States between June 19 to 21, 2007 among 2,057 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include: sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed); measurement error due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, nonresponse (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used) and weighting.

With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a finite "margin of error" for any survey and the use of these words should be avoided.

With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 2,057 one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/-3 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples may be higher and may vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About The Wall Street Journal Online

The Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com, published by Dow Jones & Company (NYSE: DJ; www.dowjones.com), is the largest paid subscription news site on the Web. Launched in 1996, the Online Journal continues to attract quality subscribers who are at the top of their industries, with 931,000 subscribers world-wide as of Q1, 2007. The Wall Street Journal Online network includes CareerJournal.com, OpinionJournal.com, StartupJournal.com, RealEstateJournal.com and CollegeJournal.com. 

The Online Journal provides in-depth business news and financial information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with insight and analysis, including breaking business and technology news and analysis from around the world. It draws on the Dow Jones network of nearly 1,900 business and financial news staff – the largest network of business and financial journalists in the world.

In 2007, the Online Journal received the Webby Award for Best Website in the Financial Services category.  In 2005, the Online Journal was awarded a Codie Award for Best Online News Service for the second consecutive year, and its Health Industry Edition was awarded Best Online Science or Technology Service for the third consecutive year.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiaries Novatris in France and MediaTransfer AG in Germany, and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com.

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in online surveys, register at www.harrispollonline.com.

Press Contacts:

Tracey McNerney
Harris Interactive
585-214-7756

Christine Mohan
Dow Jones & Company
212-416-2114

 
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