In light of rising gas prices, more Americans view drilling for oil and the development of new power plants as a higher priority than energy conservation. According to the results of a new poll by the non-profit Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 47 percent (a majority) of the 2,000 Americans surveyed rate energy exploration, drilling and power plant construction as the top priority. Just five months earlier only 35 percent of respondents considered energy development the nation"s most important issue. Likewise, the number of respondents who prioritize energy conservation fell from a 45 percent majority in February to just 35 percent in the more recent tally, conducted in June.
The poll also found that the number of people who consider increasing energy supplies more important than protecting the environment increased from 54 percent in February to 60 percent in June, while the number of people in favor of oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge also rose.
"This shows the real impact of higher gas prices on the public," said Pew"s Carroll Doherty. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, gasoline prices have soared more than a dollar per gallon on average since February.