DES PLAINES, Ill. — More than half of Americans support the development of additional infrastructure to expand the use of natural gas in the U.S., according to a poll conducted for Honeywell’s UOP business, a leading supplier of technology and equipment to natural gas producers. An even larger number, three-quarters of respondents, agreed that the development of natural gas is driving economic growth in the U.S., underpinning the support for infrastructure development.
The survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs found that 56 percent support expanded development of infrastructure, including processing facilities to clean natural gas and transportation pipelines to bring that gas to consumers. Only 10 percent of adults opposed such investments, while 31 percent are unsure whether to support infrastructure expansion. A supermajority of 75 percent believes that natural gas exploration and development in the U.S. is driving economic resurgence in the nation, specifically in sectors including manufacturing.
“The survey results demonstrate that most people recognize the importance of natural gas to the U.S. economy and support investment needed to expand its use,” said Rebecca Liebert, senior vice president and general manager of UOP’s Gas Processing and Hydrogen business. “We continue to see robust demand for our technology both here in the U.S. and globally as natural gas becomes a greater solution to energy and other needs.”
UOP technology, equipment and materials remove contaminants from raw natural gas to help prepare it for safe transport worldwide. It also recovers natural gas liquids such as ethane and propane that are used to make plastics and other petrochemical compounds.
Erica Bowman, vice president of research and policy analysis for America’s Natural Gas Alliance, said, “Americans understand the benefits of natural gas and support greater access to this clean and abundant domestic resource. It’s encouraging to see that people by and large know that natural gas offers intrinsic environmental and economic benefits.”
Among the other findings of the survey:
- When asked about the two most appealing reasons to use natural gas, respondents most frequently said that it reduces energy dependence on other countries (48 percent), while more than one-third (35 percent) agreed that it costs less than other sources of energy fuels. Nearly one-third (30 percent) said it is better for the environment than other energy fuels. Almost one quarter (23 percent) said it is more abundant and accessible than other fuels, and nearly one-fifth (19 percent) said creates jobs and powers economic growth.
- Nearly 6 in 10 (57 percent) of respondents said that natural gas is the most cost-effective way to heat homes, eclipsing electricity (20 percent), wood stoves (19 percent) and fuel oil (3 percent).
- Across all categories, interest in using natural gas outpaces current usage. A majority of adults report being very interested or somewhat interested in natural gas for either heating the home (63 percent) or for cooking (58 percent). Nearly half (46 percent) report interest in acquiring a natural gas-powered clothes dryer, while more than one-third indicate interest in natural gas for a BBQ hook-up (40 percent) or to power a car or vehicle (36 percent). The greatest interest in new uses for natural gas comes from people who already use it.
- Currently, 6 in 10 adults report they use natural gas for at least one household task, with home heating the most common at 49 percent. Nearly 4 in 10 (37 percent) report using natural gas for cooking, with either a stove or oven. One-fourth (24 percent) report using natural gas for a clothes dryer, and 1 in 10 (11 percent) use it as barbecue hook-up.
Natural gas consumption has risen every year in the U.S., from 19.2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in 1990 to 26.1 tcf last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Today more than 60 percent of U.S. residences use natural gas, rising from 50.2 million households in 1990 to nearly 67 million in 2013. Meanwhile, the average residential price of natural gas has fallen steadily since peaking in July of 2008, according to the EIA.
A leader in natural gas technology, Honeywell also offers automation, personal protective gear, sensors, combustion equipment and other technologies used extensively in the natural gas industry. Honeywell also manufactures a key ingredient of foam insulation that helps keep liquefied natural gas cold so it can be transported. Download an infographic of the survey results here.
These are findings of an Ipsos online poll conducted August 25-27, 2014. For this survey, a national sample of 2,009 adults was interviewed online. Weighting then was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the U.S. adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of 2,009 and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in the United States had been polled.