Essential Report

Renewables vs fossil fuels

Sep 11, 2017

Q. As far as you know, which energy source – renewable energy like solar and wind OR fossil fuels like coal and gas – is better for each of the following?

  Renewable energy better Fossil fuels better No difference Don’t know   May 2015 Renewable May 2015 Fossil fuels
The environment 73% 8% 10% 10%   69% 5%
Electricity costs 41% 27% 14% 18%   47% 18%
The economy 40% 28% 14% 18%   42% 20%
Jobs 34% 26% 20% 20%   37% 20%


Overall, respondents think that renewable energy is better for the environment (73%), electricity costs (41%), the economy (40%) and jobs (34%). Since this question was asked in May 2015, main changes are an increase for renewables being better for the environment (from 69% to 73%) and a decline for renewables being better for electricity costs (from 47% to 41%).


There were few substantial differences across demographic groups – other than for men who were more likely to believe fossil fuels were better for the economy (36%), jobs (32%) and electricity costs (33%).


Liberal/National voters were more likely to think fossil fuels are better for the economy (39%), jobs (37%) and electricity costs (35%).


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