(group) According to a poll conducted by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News, eight out of ten Americans say that they are
environmentalists. Do their buying and consumption practices support that claim?
- Sixty-seven percent of those polled said they would be willing to pay 15 to 20 cents a gallon more for gasoline that causes much less pollution than the current blends. One major refiner responded that it had developed such a blend, but it wasn't selling. Would you say that members of the 67 percent who do not purchase a less-polluting blend when it becomes when it becomes available are not sincere in claiming to be environmentalists?
Leaving aside the fact that the 1000 or so people who are usually polled in such situations are unlikely to have ever run across this
less-pollutingpetrol, I do think those who do not put their own money where their mouth is aren't not as sincere as they claim. I think Heyne's implication that environmentalism is an all or nothing proposition is kind of absurd though. It's not pregnancy.
- When asked whether they would favor at 25-cent addition to the gasoline tax to encourage less driving and more conservation, 69 percent of those polled opposed the tax and only 27 percent supported it. Can you reconcile this position with the claim of two-thirds of those polled that they are environmentalists?
Yes. Perhaps they believe there are better ways to discourage driving. Perhaps their environmental concerns are focused in other arenas than vehicle emissions. Perhaps they want someone else to pay for it. None of those preclude being an environmentalist.
- Eighty-five percent of those polled wanted the government to require cars to be more fuel-efficient and less polluting even if that made them more expensive, although only 51 percent were willing to see cars made
smaller and less safein order to protect the environment. Can you provide a plausible explanation for these combinations of attitudes?
Both kill people. Less safe kills people faster and in greater numbers. The plausible explanation is these people don't want to see others killed.