U.S. consumers want national energy self-sufficiency, but say no to traditional energy plants in their back yards: RBC Capital Markets survey



    Despite growing awareness of climate change, majority remain more
    concerned about gas prices

    NEW YORK, June 5 /CNW/ - While nine out of ten people said the U.S. needs
to find ways to produce more of its own oil rather than rely so heavily on
foreign sources and eight of ten said they were concerned about the country's
energy self-sufficiency, the vast majority of Americans oppose the
construction of oil refineries or other traditional energy plants in their
city or town, according to an annual energy survey released today by RBC
Capital Markets, one of North America's leading energy investment banks.
    The national survey of 1,001 Americans was released in conjunction with
RBC Capital Markets' annual Energy Conference being held in New York today and
tomorrow. It shows that 84 per cent opposed the construction of an oil
refinery in their hometown, 83 per cent opposed the construction or
re-commissioning of a nuclear power plant and three out of four opposed the
construction of a liquefied natural gas facility in their city or town.
    "We haven't built a new refinery in the U.S. in almost three decades,"
said RBC Capital Markets analyst Kurt Hallead. "Clearly the 'Not In My
Backyard' phenomenon still prevails."
    The survey also found that compared to a year ago, Americans are far more
concerned about global warming and climate change, and are increasingly
conscious of the harm carbon dioxide emissions are causing. The majority of
those polled (68 per cent) said they were in favor of carbon dioxide
regulations, even if it meant higher energy costs, and 67 per cent said they
would also pay more for cleaner fuels than pay less for fuels that pollute.
Still, only a third say they are spending more time learning about what they
can do and two-thirds admit they need to do more.
    "It's as if consumers are paralyzed by the magnitude of the problem,
concerned about the price they will have to pay in their personal lives, and
unsure that they can do anything about it," said Hallead. "To me, it's a
clarion call for more public education. It's the only way for policy makers to
address a situation where everyone wants energy self-sufficiency but no new
traditional energy plants."
    Moreover, while the vast majority of Americans support government
activities to increase energy conservation programs, develop alternative
energy incentives, and reduce the nation's reliance on foreign oil, there is
still resistance to policies or initiatives that intrude on Americans'
lifestyles or pocketbooks.
    While the survey also found that Americans' number one concern was the
quality of life for the next generation, concern for gas prices took
precedence over "quality of the air I breathe" and climate change - in large
part because three quarters of respondents said it would be impossible to live
their life as it is today without owning a car. Eight in ten (78 per cent)
said they were concerned about the price of gas and if they could afford to
drive. In fact, sixty-seven per cent felt that Americans are too concerned
with how energy prices affect their wallets and are losing sight of protecting
the environment.
    "This crystallizes the dilemma faced by policy makers: the public clearly
wants action, but not action that overly affects their way of life," said Marc
Harris, RBC Capital Markets' Director of U.S. Equity Research. "One of the
issues is getting people to practice what they preach. However, it was
heartening to see that almost 70 per cent said they would consider a hybrid
car in their next purchase and 58 per cent of SUV owners said they will try
and buy a hybrid next time."
    On the issue of alternative energy, a resounding 87 per cent said the
U.S. government needs to act immediately to encourage and reinforce the
development of alternative energy sources with subsidies and incentives. Six
in ten people said they would sanction the construction of a solar plant in
their hometown and more than half (57 per cent) would endorse the construction
of wind turbines in their hometowns.
    Other highlights of the survey include:

    
    -   Three-quarters (74 per cent) of Americans said they would consider a
        candidate's stand on energy issues when voting in the 2008
        presidential election, up from 49 per cent who did so in 2004
    -   When asked, "Will the United States find a solution to its energy
        problems in your lifetime?" nearly six in ten (57 per cent) said
        "no." Even the survey's youngest respondents (18 to 24 years old) did
        not believe the nation would find a solution to its energy problems
        in their lifetimes, with close to half (48 per cent) expressing
        disbelief
    -   Three-quarters said that companies who adopt and comply with
        environmentally friendly and energy efficient standards should
        receive a meaningful reduction in corporate taxes
    -   One-third of SUV drivers said the publicity surrounding energy
        consumption and climate change has caused them to second-guess the
        benefits of owning an SUV.
    

    The RBC Capital Markets survey was conducted May 11 - 18, 2007 and
included 1,001 online respondents. InsightExpress assisted RBC Capital Markets
in the survey. The margin of error was +/-4.1 per cent.

    About RBC Capital Markets Global Energy

    RBC Capital Markets' Energy Group provides advice and raises capital for
the energy and utilities sectors around the world, including exploration &
production, oil field services, pipelines, MLPs, and refining and marketing.
The firm provides award winning energy research that covers more than 200
energy companies around the world. In 2006, its energy analysts received top
rankings from independent research survey firms for stock picking, earnings
estimates and research coverage in the oil, gas & consumable fuels industry,
integrated oil and gas, oil and gas exploration, oil services and utilities.
RBC is one of the most experienced banks in the world in oils sands financing,
and is a Nomad on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).





For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Kevin Foster, RBC Capital
Markets, (212) 428-6902, kevin.foster@rbccm.com; Katherine Gay, RBC, (416)
974-6286, katherine.gay@rbc.com; Loretta Healy, Hubbell Group, (781) 878-8882,
lhealy@hubbellgroup.com


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