We want to achieve energy independence more than ever.
From 2001 to early 2009, most Americans favored conservation over more energy production — but with the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and revolutions sweeping the Middle East, we’ve reversed our priorities. Although 87 percent of Americans believe the Gulf of Mexico hasn’t fully recovered from the 2010 oil spill, 69 percent favor increased offshore drilling. And while nearly two out of three Americans want more alternative energy development, 47 percent said (even right after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdown) that nuclear power’s benefits outweigh its risks, compared with the 38 percent who disagreed.
But we’ve made little progress. While we are buying more fuel-efficient cars and we’ve discovered huge new domestic gas and oil fields, “the United States has not become more energy independent in the past decade,” says Charles Ebinger, director of the Energy Security Initiative at the Brookings Institution. “We’re still importing about 50 percent of our oil, and that’s likely to increase.”
Next: Are we more Islamophobic? »