Energy Economy

Americans' Perception of Oil Industry at 12-Year High: Gallup

refilling the car
Source: Thinkstock
There is nothing like low gasoline prices to change the way Americans view the oil and gas industry. From 2001 to 2003, with pump prices averaging an inflation-adjusted average of around $2 a gallon, the industry’s favorability ratings were 24%, 25% and 35% in the three-year period. When pump prices averaged over $4 a gallon in 2008, the industry’s favorability rating was 15%.

Since 2013, when gasoline prices began to fall, the favorability rating for the industry rose from 26% to 29% in 2014 and to 34% this year, according to a report Monday from Gallup. Still, the only sector with a lower favorability rating than oil and gas is the federal government, which is the only sector to post a negative score — 54% of Americans have a negative view of the federal government.

Gallup notes that there is a “statistically strong, albeit imperfect” correlation between gasoline prices and Americans’ favorability rating for the oil and gas industry. In the 15 years that Gallup has conducted its Work and Education poll, the industry has achieved the lowest net-positive ratings, or been statistically tied for the lowest rating, in 12 of those years, including every year from 2001 to 2010. The industry’s net rating this year is -13.

The poll-takers noted:

The oil and gas industry has suffered in the past when gas prices have risen, as well as when the industry was criticized for its record profits. But as gas prices have fallen, which helps consumers but not the industry or governments that rely on oil revenue, Americans’ views of the industry have brightened.

The five industries or sectors with the highest favorability percentages are the computer industry (59%), the restaurant industry (50%), the Internet industry (44%), the grocery industry (39%) and farming and agriculture (38%).

The five lowest scoring sectors are the federal government (-29%), oil and gas (-13%), pharmaceuticals (-8%), health care (-6%) and the legal field (-5%).

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