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Poll: NC residents blame oil companies, OPEC for gas prices

Posted April 3, 2012

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— Although Republican presidential candidates are blaming President Barack Obama for gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon, a poll released Tuesday shows most North Carolina residents point the finger at oil companies and foreign countries.

The Elon University Poll surveyed 534 residents statewide last week and also found that people were evenly split on a controversial method of natural gas drilling being considered by North Carolina lawmakers. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.24 percentage points.

Nearly three-quarters of those polled blamed oil companies for high gas prices, while foreign countries that produce oil were blamed by 58 percent of respondents.

The poll asked people to rank how much blame to assign to each group on a scale of 1 to 5, and the percentages reflect the number who assigned a 4 or 5 to each.

Obama's administration was cited by 42 percent, Democrats in Congress by 41 percent and Republicans in Congress by 35 percent. Forty percent said American driving habits were to blame, while 34 percent blamed environmental regulations.

Most respondents said the U.S. needs to rely more on solar and wind power for its energy needs. Eighty-five percent supported more solar power, and 80 percent supported more wind power.

Meanwhile, 72 percent said the country needs to be less reliant on oil, and 63 percent said coal use needs to decline. Respondents were split on nuclear energy, with 42 percent calling for expansion and 50 percent saying less nuclear power should be used.

Seventy percent of those polled said natural gas needs to play a larger role in the nation's energy mix, but a majority say they don't know enough about a drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to determine if it's good for North Carolina.

Fracking involves drilling horizontally into underground deposits of shale and then pumping a high-pressure mix of water and chemicals into a well to break apart the rock and release natural gas.

Opponents of the process say it would damage water resources and contaminate the environment, while supporters say it would provide an economic boon to central North Carolina.

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has said fracking could be done safely in North Carolina if the proper safeguards were put in place first. The agency is expected to deliver its findings to lawmakers next month.

Twenty-two percent of Elon poll respondents say they oppose fracking in North Carolina, while 21 percent say they support it.

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  • davidgnews Apr 6, 2012

    "wait to U see the profit they make this quarter off us "

    I normally wouldn't complain about a business trying to make money, but all of the profits are at the expense of the economy and resultant inflation that it produces down the road. The speculation should also be eliminated.

  • elkittrell Apr 6, 2012

    Theres more oil out there than we need , U had a 16 + million gallon build , in the last 2 weeks , they are putting it in milk jugs tin cans ,there is no where else to put all of it , the problem the refineries are only working 2 days a week , should be running 92 or 93 % , instead there running about 88 % or so , why work 5 days a week and sell it for $2.50 a gallon , when U can use half the workers 2 days a week and sell it for $5.00 bucks a gallon , wait to U see the profit they make this quarter off us , there should be a law , to me thats just like stealing , they don't even kiss U before they bend U over ,what a shame

  • luv to camp Apr 4, 2012

    Does anybody really beleive that today one person (any president) can effect the price of oil / gas? How come nobody is questioning the futures traders who are running the prices up?
    Offshore drilling, that might effect the prices in a few years.

  • btneast Apr 4, 2012

    He has the abiility to talk these company's into staying

    ....do you really believe that?

  • btneast Apr 4, 2012

    because our President is letting company's leave our country and take our jobs with them. He has the abiility to talk these company's into staying

    .....not an Obama lover by any stretch, but you are off base.Industry chasing lower manufacturing costs is a natural course of events that has been going on forever ( primarily since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution). Advances in technology have made it more feasible to do business overseas. The ability to communicate cheaply and quickly globally, containerized shipping, the growth of basic infrastructure (roads, electricity) in emerging areas that were once primitive and many other factors have made it more feasible to do business globally. I wish we could keep all of thos jobs here too, but it was inevitable that they would head to other places. We have to move into technology areas and lead in that field....unfortunately, the education of American kids ( and some American cultural trends) isn't keeping up.

  • barbstillkickin Apr 4, 2012

    I can not believe you determined2win said we deserve higher gas prices. You must be an Obama lover. We deserve to get a break on gas since there are so many unemployed because our President is letting company's leave our country and take our jobs with them. He has the abiility to talk these company's into staying but he has been trying to bring us down from day one. With people like you behind him it will not be long before we are broken down completely. Thank you so much. Maybe you can afford all that money for gas but not me or any one I know. Deserve it for God sakes how dare you say we deserve anything else bad to happen. You need to go to Dix before it closes.

  • josephlawrence43 Apr 4, 2012

    Elon --objective polling ??? Obama has the ability to lower gas prices almost immediately by stopping the semi-annual changing of the gasoline "blends"--will he do it?? No..He could lift the moratoriums on drilling on federal lands. That would not be an immediate effect but it would be a start. Will Ojammie do that? No. He could care less about this nation or its people. His desire is to take this nation down--and he is working hard to accomplish this.

  • short Apr 4, 2012

    "Most respondents said the U.S. needs to rely more on solar and wind power for its energy needs. Eighty-five percent supported more solar power, and 80 percent supported more wind power."......I wonder how this question was couched? Would you want more solar power? Duh? Now here's the next question...that power would come at the equivalent cost of a $10 gallon of gas......amazing - only 1% concurred.

  • determined2win Apr 3, 2012

    Gas should be $4.00+ per gallon. We've had it too good for too long. And doing a little research on your part BEFORE taking a poll/survey or voting will teach you that oil production is not the bottleneck in gas prices at the pump. The problem is in the LACK of U.S. refining capacity or the fact that refiners are bottle-necking the production of oil into various grades of gasoline/diesel/kerosene/home heating oil/etc. There were a total of 148 operable petroleum refineries in the United States as of January 1, 2011.

    Oil producers/refiners have been closing older refineries & buying up older, smaller refineries. The limit is not in available oil, but in refining capacity, whether the limits are due to equipment production capability, or the desire for oil companies to maintain profit margins. The last numbers I saw from the Petroleum Institute in January said that roughly $2.75 of the cost of a gallon of gas is due to cost of the oil. Then add in transport/mktg costs/taxes, etc.

  • thewayitis Apr 3, 2012

    "What he could do is lift restrictions on oil drilling and refining. He could encourage the dismantling of oil speculations by using our stored reserves to screw the speculators every time they run up the cost of oil etc etc etc" ACC_rules.

    This exactly. This is something that could be done right now.

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