Energy consumers are concerned about climate change — and their pocketbooks. How can companies interpret these potentially conflicting messages?
Across the US, energy consumers are caught between two desires: protecting the environment while keeping energy costs in check. These competing dynamics have also flummoxed energy companies as they attempt to serve two masters — keeping shareholders happy by delivering the profitability they demand while meeting consumer energy needs in a dynamic market.
The US Fuels of the Future survey — based on responses from 1,500 consumers and 102 corporate energy decision-makers (EDMs) across the US — shows that despite significant concern over the environment and climate change, Americans overwhelmingly focus on price first.
Feelings on fuels
As consumers have more options — from fueling vehicles to powering homes and businesses — consumer preference and the willingness to put their money behind those preferences become increasingly important. So how do American consumers feel about their fuel choices?
The majority of consumers believe natural gas is the most affordable and reliable fuel. This is important since 41% of consumer respondents ranked affordability as the most important quality of a fuel source (whereas 28% ranked reliability as the most important quality). While a majority of consumers agree environmental friendliness is important, only 10% of respondents ranked it the most important quality of a fuel source.
Although energy costs in the US are lower than many parts of the world, many consumer survey respondents struggle to make ends meet — one in five respondents said affording energy for their car (18%) or home (22%) is difficult each month.