7 in 10 people say soaring Fuel Costs will not lead to increased support for Government’s Fossil Fuel Vehicle Ban

Some 7 in 10 people feel that the impact of ballooning oil and energy prices on their everyday cost of living will not translate into more support for the Government’s goal to introduce a ban on the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2030, while only 3 in 10 say that they believe that the soaring prices will result in the government receiving more support from the public. These are among the primary findings of a nationwide survey commissioned by Aviva Insurance Ireland (Aviva) of 1,200 adults nationwide1, which comes on the back of a recent debate around the banning of turf and peat burning in households around the country.

Speaking of the findings, Billy Shannon, Aviva, commented: “Recent reports on this issue, particularly the upcoming plans around the sale and use of turf have demonstrated how bumpy a road it is for Ireland to make this transition to a more fossil fuel free society. Getting the country on board with the Government strategy has not and will not happen overnight and it seems from our survey that soaring fuel costs are not going to positively support public sentiment in this regard. There is still a very broad section of society that is sceptical about our wider climate change goals and how we view Government plans to achieve them.”

Further highlights from the Aviva survey include:

  • 3 in 10 people believe rising fuel costs will result in greater support for the Government’s plan – men are more likely than women to believe this – 36% versus 25% respectively
  • People age 55+ are least likely to believe that support will grow on the back of fuel price increases (81%)
  • Younger age cohorts (18-24) are more confident about a growth in support for climate change commitments (73%)
  • A definite age divide is apparent, likely stemming from our historic use of fossil fuels and how attitudes to our reliance on such have changed and continue to change.
  • Almost a quarter say the cost of fuel is unlikely to have any impact on the way people think about the ban

Ireland has a long, historic relationship with fossil fuels. They have been integrated into our daily lives for several generations now, and if anything, the survey highlights a clear generational divide when we look at attitudes towards lessening our reliance on fossil fuels and our proposed transition to green energy for all new vehicles sold by 2030. Older age groups are far less likely to believe that support has grown or will grow on the back of fuel price increases, while younger age cohorts are much more confident about a growth in support because of the financial impact of increased prices. This gap shows just how much attitudes have changed and continue to change amongst the younger generations – and it is evident that the younger generation are the ones championing change.

Billy Shannon, Aviva

Recent controversy surrounding the Government’s decision to ban the sale of turf from September has ignited the debate around how best to implement our climate change goals.

“There is a way to go before the Government’s ban on the sale of turf comes to pass in September. While there may be broad agreement on the negative impacts of burning fossil fuels on our climate and on our individual health, there is clearly a lot of contention around how we manage our transition to cleaner energy sources as a society.

“What is clear is that the current energy crisis is prompting more urgent conversations and actions around the need to accelerate our progress towards our climate targets. The pandemic has provided a unique lens through which to view future possible changes in our energy sourcing and supply chain, as well as also affording us opportunities to look at the problems and possible solutions from a very different perspective. Indeed, recent figures from the SEAI2 found that total energy consumption in 2020 fell by 8.7% - down substantially on previous years, with most of the reduction occurring in transport. While the figures for 2020 were an anomaly due to the pandemic, they do show us what is possible and by how much we could reduce our carbon emissions if we were to switch to green transport. The report also outlined the sheer scale of the challenge ahead by observing that energy related CO2 emissions fell by less in 2020 than will be required every year between 2021 and 2030, on average, if we are to meet our 2030 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” concluded Billy Shannon.

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1. Conducted by IReach

2. SEAI Energy in Ireland Report 21

Aviva Group Services Ireland Limited, a private company limited by shares. Registered in Ireland No.322579. Registered Office: Cherrywood Business Park, Dublin, Ireland, D18 W2P5.