According to a new poll from the University of Texas (UT), American support for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is increasing while opposition to the process has declined. Surveying 2,043 Americans on a wide range of energy issues, the latest UT Energy Poll shows support for fracking is greater than opposition by a 10 point margin. As the press release states:
“Of those who say they are familiar with the technology [hydraulic fracturing], 47 percent approve of its use, compared to 41 percent last fall; 37 percent oppose fracking, compared with 43 percent in September.”
In addition to finding more Americans are in favor of fracking, the UT poll shows U.S. energy independence and energy security are among the nation’s top concerns. According to the survey, dependence on the Middle East oil and gas ranks second only to terrorism in terms of Americans’ top energy concerns.
With almost half of those polled listing energy security as a main concern, it’s no wonder fracking is gaining support. Thanks to technologies like fracking and horizontal drilling, the United States became the top combined producer of oil and natural gas globally in 2014, greatly lessening our dependence on foreign oil.
Continued innovation in fracking has helped the US record a trade surplus with the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for the first time ever. Additionally, with these technologies increasing the amount of oil produced from each well, domestic oil output has only dipped slightly, even as rig counts have fallen from their record highs. Even the OPEC secretary-general recently conceded the cartel doesn’t know how to handle the flood of US crude unlocked by fracking.
The impact of hydraulic fracturing on the environment is the topic of least concern in terms of consumption for Americans, the survey finds, with the cost electricity ranking as the greatest concern. This could further explain the increasing support for fracking, as cheap natural gas from fracking decreased wholesale electricity prices 27-37 percent across the country in 2015, compared to 2014.
Finally, the poll shows American still associate oil and natural gas production with jobs. When asked about the benefits of domestic natural gas production, 68 percent put job creation as the top benefit, with lower costs and providing energy security ranking second and third at 66 and 65 percent, respectively. Moreover, of all energy sources considered in the poll – oil, renewables, natural gas, coal, and nuclear – oil was mentioned as the resource that most contributes to U.S. jobs.
As this UT Energy Poll shows, with all of the benefits the technology provides, the facts about fracking are becoming harder to deny.