Two new polls are highlighting public views of the energy sector and climate change, including concerns about building transmission in neighborhoods, lack of electric vehicle charging and carbon fees.
One poll, released Tuesday from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), found that upfront costs and lack of charging infrastructure are the largest barriers for EV buyers, with 83 and 77 percent of respondents listing them as a reason they would not buy an EV.
But 41 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat likely to consider purchasing an EV when they get a new car.
“The high upfront cost of owning one and concerns about the country’s charging infrastructure are barriers to more people driving [EVs],” Jennifer Benz, deputy director of the AP-NORC Center at the University of Chicago said in a release. “Policies that alleviate these concerns will be a key component of building support for an EV future.”
While cost and charging availability are challenges for greater EV adoption, 74 percent of respondents listed cost of gasoline as a reason they would consider making their next vehicle an EV. Two-thirds of respondents also would consider EVs to reduce their personal climate footprint.
Meanwhile, tax credits and rebates were much more popular as an incentive for EVs — supported by 49 percent — than fuel efficiency standards, which were backed by 35 percent. Twenty-seven percent supported mandates requiring all new vehicles to be electric.
The poll also found that most respondents, 56 percent, support building the sort of high-voltage transmission lines that experts say will be crucial to adding large amounts of renewable power to the grid.
That support fell to 48 percent when it came to putting transmission lines in respondent’s own neighborhoods.
There was also disparate support across socioeconomic classes and political parties. Democrats and households earning $100,000 a year or more were more likely to support power lines, but their support also fell by roughly 10 percentage points when told transmission would be built in their neighborhood.
Overall, 55 percent of households making at least $100,000 supported power lines, compared to 48 percent of households making $30,000 a year or less.
Sam Ori, the executive director of EPIC, posited that the difference may be because lower-income neighborhoods have been on the wrong end historically of environmental justice issues and may be more skeptical of where the infrastructure may be built.