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Gallup: Majority oppose oil drilling on public land

By Eric DuVall
Gallup: Majority oppose oil drilling on public land
A board on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last month shows the cost for a barrel of light crude oil at $55.70, a historically low price for the world's most common energy source. Low oil prices have led a majority of Americans to conclude it is not necessary to open federal land to oil exploration. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 24 (UPI) -- Perhaps persuaded by low gasoline prices, a slim majority of Americans now oppose opening federal lands for oil exploration for the first time in an annual survey on the environment.

The Gallup poll found 53 percent of Americans opposed opening public land to oil exploration. The figure has steadily moved in that direction. Five years ago, 65 percent of Americans, nearly two-in-three, supported drilling for oil on federal land.

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The change? Gas prices. Five years ago, gas was near its highest amount ever, adjusted for inflation. At the time, the national average was nearly $4 per gallon. Now the price has dropped to $2.42.

With that price decrease, more Americans now say they are not particularly concerned about the long-term cost or availability of energy. In 2012, nearly half of all Americans said they were concerned "a great deal" about the cost and availability of energy. Now, with gas prices low, that figure stands at 27 percent, an all-time low in the 17-year history of the Gallup survey.

Gallup's poll queried 1,018 adults from March 1-5. It carries a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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