Americans’ interest in the energy sector is waning, with fewer people reading about energy issues and fewer people seeking ways to conserve energy at home. The findings are from the most recent University of Texas Energy Poll, which surveyed 2,144 consumers in September, giving a snapshot of consumer attitudes about energy. The results were released Oct. 17 by the university’s McCombs School of Business. While the majority of respondents said they believe energy issues are important, the percentage of those believing so has dropped since September 2012 from 67% to 62% a year later. The drop is even more significant when it comes to whether respondents read about energy issues almost daily. The percentage took a nosedive, dropping from 21% in September 2012 to 14% in September 2013. This, unfortunately, could be impacting Americans’ knowledge on energy-related issues. Poll results also showed that 58% of those surveyed believed the US gets most of its oil from Saudi Arabia. Only 13% gave the correct answer: Canada. Most of those surveyed said they don’t follow energy issues globally, nationally, or even locally. Responses revealed that only 40% follow global energy issues; 43% follow national energy issues; and 48% follow local energy issues. “There appears to be a lack of engagement and a lack of understanding on many issues,” poll director Sheril Kirshenbaum said in a news release about the poll. “Prior to the [US presidential] election, energy was everywhere. This year, there have been no major storms like Superstorm Sandy, or a major drought affecting people’s livelihoods. The subject hasn’t been thrown in front of them.” Perhaps, the waning interest could be connected to what typically grabs consumers’ energy – gas prices. Generally speaking, the public doesn’t appear to be up in arms about gas prices, which have actually fallen. Citing the US Energy Information Administration, the pollsters pointed out that the national average for a gallon of gas was $3.61 on Sept. 2. The average dropped to $3.37 by Oct. 7. Only 65% called gasoline prices “very high,” compared to 74% six months ago, according to the poll. Those seeking information about reducing their own energy use also dropped, going from 67% in September 2012 to 62% in September 2013. Other notable findings were distinguished by their age divide. Forty-eight percent of respondents age 55 and older said they support use of hydraulic fracturing, while only 31% of those younger than 55 said they support the technique. Overall, hydraulic fracturing support has dropped 10 percentage points to 38% among those familiar with the technique. “The percentage wanting more regulation has climbed five points, to 43, with water contamination as the No. 1 fear,” according to the release. The poll also showed that 37% of younger Americans believe the US should permit natural gas exports, compared to only 29% of older Americans. There were, however, some areas on which most of those polled seemed to agree. The presence of global climate change is among these. Nearly three of every four consumers believe global climate change is happening. Kirshenbaum noted in the release that this figure has remained steady, up from 65% in March 2012. And while the poll showed that 62% consider energy issues important, only 3% believe energy should be “the most important area for spending federal tax dollars,” yet most think the government should do more to prepare for future needs, the release said. Contact the author, Velda Addison, at