Public Confidence and Energy

Archive Report

Reaction to Recent Shortages

Skepticism that Fuel Shortages are Real

Public skepticism about the seriousness of the energy situation has plagued President Carter throughout his administration. When he proposed his “National Energy Plan” to Congress in April 1977 with great fanfare, Carter asked the American people to respond to energy shortages with what he called “the moral equivalent of war.” Four months later, a CBS-New York Times poll asked the following question: “President Carter has told us that we are running out of oil and natural gas. Do you think things are as bad as the president said?” Of those responding, only 33 percent said yes while 57 percent said no.

Despite repeated presidential addresses, unceasing media attention and new problems with Middle East oil suppliers, the ...

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