Effects of Demographics and Attitudes on Willingness-to-Pay for Fuel Import Reductions through Ethanol Purchases
One potential means to ameliorate consumer concerns over energy security is to increase the domestic production of alternative fuels. However, in the United States, the public’s attitude toward ethanol, one of the most readily available alternative fuels, has been somewhat ambiguous. This study examines consumer attitudes related to energy security and how import levels influence preferences for ethanol blends using an online survey of fuel consumers across the United States. The results suggest that while consumers generally favor both environmental protection and energy security, they are less clear about how to pursue these goals, with no clear majority agreeing with additional drilling or potential effect of corn ethanol production on food prices. The results do suggest that consumers are willing to pay a premium for fuel blends that contain a lower percentage of imported fuel and that the amount of this premium is influenced by both consumer demographics and views on energy security and environmental issues.
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