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Ideology and Value Determinants of Public Support for Energy Policies in the U.S.: A Focus on Western States

School of Public Policy, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2020, 13(8), 1890;
Received: 17 March 2020 / Revised: 6 April 2020 / Accepted: 9 April 2020 / Published: 13 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Acceptability of Alternative Energy Technology)
Energy policy is often a contentious issue in the U.S. in the areas of infrastructure, conservation, and price discrimination. From the siting of new pipelines, conservation regulations, and variable pricing based on times and usage, many policies have been met by intense opposition as well as support from a variety of sources. In this context, this study examines individual-level attributes (e.g., political ideology, environmental values, and demographic characteristics) that lead to support for or opposition to infrastructure, conservation, and price discrimination policies. The identification of demographic and value correlates of energy policy preferences is important for the successful development of energy policies. Data from 2019 random household surveys in the U.S. western states of California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington are used to examine the variation in views on a variety of energy policies. Multivariate analyses reveal that those with more liberal political ideology and people holding stronger pro-environmental values (as measured by the New Ecological Paradigm) were more likely to support conservation campaigns, energy efficiency, funding for renewable energy technology and price discrimination policies than those who held more conservative views. Several demographic variables also have a significant impact on support for or opposition to policies concerning infrastructure, conservation, and price discrimination. Younger people and people with higher levels of formal education are more likely to support voluntary energy conservation campaigns and increased funding for research into renewable energy technologies, and people with higher incomes are more supportive of requiring high-energy efficiency standards in new construction. Finally, state residency independently affected policy preferences with Idahoans’ views more consistent with political conservatives and those lower on the NEP than residents of the other three western states. These findings should be useful to policy makers as they work toward the development of energy policies. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy policy; public opinion; environmental values; political ideology energy policy; public opinion; environmental values; political ideology
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Allen Wolters, E.; Steel, B.S.; Warner, R.L. Ideology and Value Determinants of Public Support for Energy Policies in the U.S.: A Focus on Western States. Energies 2020, 13, 1890.

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