Energy is one of the major issues that affects the U.S. economy, consumer well-being, national security and the environment. The topic has many dimensions and public perceptions of energy are regularly buffeted by events ranging from power outages to oil spills, from volatile prices and fears of shortages to promises of plenty as new energy technologies are developed. Consumers are often surveyed about particular aspects of energy and questions about energy prices are included in general economic surveys. However, no long-running, well-designed survey of attitudes about energy exists to date. The University of Michigan Energy Survey fills that gap.
A collaboration between the U-M Energy Institute (UMEI) and Institute for Social Research (ISR), the Energy Survey is a rigorously designed, highly objective survey of Americans’ attitudes about energy. It is administered as a quarterly rider added to ISR’s Surveys of Consumers. This world-renowned survey of consumer attitudes (SCA) forms the basis for the Index of Consumer Expectations, which is a component of the Index of Leading Economic Indicators issued monthly by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Using a nationally representative sample of U.S. households, the U-M Energy Survey probes consumer attitudes and beliefs about energy at a deep level, independently of particular sources or forms of energy. By eliciting public perceptions regarding key facets of energy including affordability, reliability and environmental impact, it generates valuable research data that will foster well-informed public discussions of energy issues and policy for years to come. Additional information about how we conduct the survey can be found on the Methodology page; see the Contributors page for the research team.
The U-M Energy Survey was first administered in October 2013 and is conducted quarterly in January, April, July and October of each year.