Psychology, Department of

 

Date of this Version

August 2005

Comments

Research Report 05-3 of the Center for Applied Rural Innovation. All of the Center’s research reports detailing Nebraska Rural Poll results are located on the Center’s World Wide Web page at http://cari.unl.edu/ruralpoll/

Abstract

Alternative and renewable energy sources have been given increasing attention during the past few years. Many wind energy projects and ethanol plants have been started across the state. How do rural Nebraskans view alternative energy sources? Do they view them as beneficial to the state’s economy? Do they think more electricity should be generated from alternative energy sources? How often do they use ethanol blend fuel? This report details 2,851 responses to the 2005 Nebraska Rural Poll, the tenth annual effort to understand rural Nebraskans’ perceptions. Respondents were asked a series of questions about alternative energy sources. For all questions, comparisons are made among different respondent subgroups, that is, comparisons by age, occupation, region, etc. Based on these analyses, some key findings emerged:

Most rural Nebraskans agree that the government should encourage the use of renewable energy sources. Eighty-nine percent agree or strongly agree with this statement. Only two percent disagree or strongly disagree.

Most rural Nebraskans believe alternative energy sources are good for the state’s economy. Eighty-nine percent either strongly agree or agree that generating more electricity through wind power would be good for Nebraska’s economy. Similar proportions believe that producing more ethanol blend fuel (86%) and more soy biodiesel blend fuel (83%) would be beneficial to the state’s economy.

Opinions are mixed on both the cost and reliability of alternative energy sources. Onethird (33%) agree or strongly agree that alternative energy sources are more expensive than traditional fossil fuel energy sources (i.e., coal, gas and oil). Twenty-eight percent disagree with this statement and 39 percent have no opinion. When given the statement that traditional fossil fuel energy sources are more reliable than alternative energy sources, 33 percent disagree and 23 percent agree. Forty-four percent of rural Nebraskans have no opinion in this area.

Most rural Nebraskans agree or strongly agree that alternative energy sources are better for the environment than traditional fossil fuel energy sources. Sixty-five percent of rural Nebraskans agree with this statement and only four percent disagree. Thirty-one percent have no opinion.

Most rural Nebraskans think at least 10% of the state’s electricity should be generated from alternative energy sources. Seventy-two percent of rural Nebraskans agree with this statement, while only three percent disagree. Twenty-five percent have no opinion.

Farmers and ranchers are most likely to agree that the government should encourage the use of renewable energy sources. Ninety-four percent of farmers and ranchers agree with this statement, compared to 84 percent of persons with service occupations.

Farmers and ranchers are most likely to agree that producing more soy bio-diesel blend fuel would be good for Nebraska’s economy. Ninety-four percent of farmers and ranchers agree with this statement, compared to 74 percent of manual laborers.

Younger persons are more likely than older persons to agree that alternative energy sources are better for the environment than traditional fossil fuel energy sources. Seventy-six percent of persons age 19 to 29 agree with this statement, compared to 52 percent of persons age 65 and older.

Over one-half of rural Nebraskans say they always or almost always use an ethanol blend fuel when filling up their vehicle. Twenty-seven percent say they always use this fuel and another 27 percent say they almost always use it. Only 13 percent say they never use ethanol blend fuel.

Farmers and ranchers are most likely to say they always use an ethanol blend fuel. Forty-four percent of farmers and ranchers always use an ethanol blend fuel, compared to 21 percent of manual laborers.

Persons living in the Northeast region are more likely than persons living in other regions of the state to say they always use an ethanol blend fuel when filling up their vehicle. Thirty-eight percent of Northeast region residents always use an ethanol blend fuel, compared to only 12 percent of the Panhandle residents. Persons living in the North Central region are the regional group most likely to say they never use this type of fuel (20%).