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The Big Oil Spill: Is it enough to change consumer behavior?

June 10, 2010 · · Filed Under Eco-Driving, FuelClinic, Motivations 

I’ve been checking the ROV “spill cams” several times a day for a few weeks now. I think I need to stop. It’s too painful to watch and realize that 20″ diameter pipe is spilling enough oil and gas to be seen from space, and would cover an area from DC to New York.

Click to see live feed from BP

Searching for good news in all of this, I found a poll released about a month ago by a green-marketing firm The Shelton Group which indicates 1 in 5 consumers say they have decided to cut back on oil consumption due to the BP disaster in the Gulf.

May 6th: So when oil started gushing into the Gulf of Mexico we wondered:  is this tangible and real enough to make Americans adopt conservation behaviors?  Can we connect what’s happening in the sea now to our own demand for energy and daily consumption of it?  If so, will we change our ways?

…50% of Americans said they plan to do nothing in response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  20% said they planned to reduce their gas consumption in light of the accident and 14% said they planned to reduce their consumption of plastic products and products sold in plastic containers.

I wonder if those numbers are any different today, after a month of “spill cams”, growing oil slicks, and news reports of repeated failures at estimating the flow.

Every poll I’ve seen indicates that “saving money” is always a key motivator for American consumers to make a “green” purchase. In these economically challenging times, it’s even more understandable.

What about an ecological disaster on a scale we’ve not seen before this close to home? Is it enough to motivate you to want to reduce your oil consumption?

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7 Responses to “The Big Oil Spill: Is it enough to change consumer behavior?”

  1. World Wide News Flash on June 10th, 2010 5:56 AM

    The Big Oil Spill: is it enough to change consumer behavior ……

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. Michael on June 10th, 2010 11:16 AM

    Looks like the “rubber gasket” has blown-out, and is flopping around in the gusher. (11:25am)


  3. Tom Jones on June 11th, 2010 12:42 AM

    Change behavior? Are you kidding me? That totally sounds like a hassle, man.

  4. Michael on June 11th, 2010 9:00 AM

    Tom’s got a sense on humor, or is in the 50% who plan to do nothing…

  5. jessica on June 13th, 2010 11:03 AM

    Doubt it. My hope is, it will lead to policy that will give people no other choice.

  6. Pensacola Beach – Before and After… Ready to Cut Your Oil Consumption? « Fuelishness! Fuel Economy Blog on June 25th, 2010 8:36 PM

    […] few days ago I asked “The Big Oil Spill: Is it enough to change consumer behavior?” At the time most of the evidence of the scope of this disaster was still well hidden. Now […]

  7. Take Meaningful Action – The Urgency of Doing « Fuelishness! Fuel Economy Blog on June 27th, 2010 9:06 AM

    […] complain a lot, but rarely do we DO anything “about it” – not in great numbers. Not enough to make a real difference. We are so comfortable, and we prefer to keep it that way […]

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