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Survey: Many Americans support shifting to renewables but still want to drive gas-powered cars

Wind turbines generating renewable energy in Spring Valley in White Pine County, Nev.
Dominic Gentilcore
Adobe Stock
Wind turbines generating renewable energy in Spring Valley in White Pine County, Nev.

Pew Research Center surveyed 10,329 U.S. adults between May 30 and June 4, 2023. The nonpartisan think tank found that roughly three-fourths (74%) of Americans support the U.S. making efforts to reduce the effects of global climate change, and two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed want more energy to come from renewables.

Yet, less than a third of Americans (31%) support the idea of the country ditching fossil fuels altogether. Driving the lack of support: vehicles.

“Almost half said they would be upset – including a large majority of Republicans said they would be upset – about the idea of phasing out gas-powered cars by 2035,” said Brian Kennedy, a senior researcher at Pew and co-author of the report.

That year, 2035, is seen by many as a goal to end the sale of gas-powered cars. But Kennedy said most people have little confidence the country will build enough charging stations for such a large number of electric vehicles (EVs). He noted that just 17% of Americans are “extremely or very confident” the U.S. will build a network of charging stations to support a large expansion of EVs.

In 2021, the transportation sector generated the largest share of carbon emissions in the U.S. at 28%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2023 KUNR Public Radio. To see more, visit KUNR Public Radio.

Kaleb Roedel