Poll: Biofuel Demand Far Exceeds Supply

Harris poll confirms that consumers want more biofuel incentives.

Published on: Oct 25, 2006
Even though petroleum-base fuel prices are on the slide, Americans strongly prefer development of agricultural biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. In fact, 80% of those surveyed in a mid-October Harris Interactive poll agreed that national and state governments need to do still more to promote production of biofuels.

The survey also found that 82% of respondents agree that national and state governments should provide financial incentives to biofuels producers to encourage the production and availability of biofuels. And, 69% would use American-made biofuels even if these fuels cost slightly more than conventional gas.

More than eight of every 10 (84%) would be at least somewhat likely to support federal and state political candidates who favor providing incentives to promote increased production and availability of biofuels throughout the United States.

Harris Interactive interviewed 1,031 adults in early October on behalf of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO, says, "Developing domestic biofuels and ending our over-reliance on foreign oil appear to be top concerns among Americans in this election year.

"Reducing dependence on oil and lessening environmental impacts are important to our nation's future economic growth and competitiveness. A strong majority of Americans clearly support federal and state financial incentives to promote development of biofuels such as ethanol that can help end our addiction to oil. And they're ready to support political candidates who favor such incentives."

Americans recognize biofuel production as a national priority, according to Greenwood. "We clearly see support for continuing and expanding existing tax credits and other biofuels production incentives."

Future priorities

The survey also found that 81% rated making America less dependent on foreign oil very important or important. Some 73% rated decreasing gas prices very important or important. And 68% rated creating jobs in rural areas as very important or important.

Next year, Congress will have the opportunity to fund advanced research and provide additional incentives to help build a growing biofuel industry. With industrial biotechnology processes now available to transform crop residues such as corn stover, wheat straw and rice straw into ethanol, America could soon meet an even larger portion of its transportation fuel needs with biofuels. "With ongoing advances in biotechnology, biofuels can help America meet nearly half its transportation-fuel needs by the middle of this century," projects Greenwood.