Coping with the Energy Shortage: Perceptions and Attitudes of Metropolitan Consumers

James A. Brunner
Gary F. Bennett



The energy shortage in the United States became a crisis with the imposition of an embargo on oil shipments by OPEC. A survey of six hundred residents of a metropolitan area was made in 1974 and again in 1976. The data have been analyzed and illustrate differences between concerned and unconcerned citizens and to show how time has affected perceptions of both groups.

Although exposed to extensive media coverage of the energy problem and its related developments, there was no significant change in the attitudes of the population in the time period involved—about 65 per cent agreed or strongly agreed, in both surveys, there was a problem. Many of the respondents indicated they had changed their life style to reduce energy consumption, but significant differences were indicated between 1974 and 1975. As time lengthened from the severe crisis period, people conserved less; much of the conservation was tied to economic factors rather than an energy ethic.

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