European countries, which are heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas, could benefit by diversifying its energy sources. Some 61% of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center say they favor the United States expanding production to export large amounts of natural gas to European countries to meet that need. A smaller share (37%) say they would oppose expanding natural gas production to export to countries in Europe.
Seven-in-ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents favor exporting large amounts of natural gas to European countries, as do a somewhat smaller majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (55%), the Pew Research Center survey finds. The Democrats surveyed were more concerned about climate change and the impact that more natural gas usage may have on it.
In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European countries, including Germany and Italy, announced plans to phase out oil and gas imports from Russia – the largest supplier of energy to Europe.
The Biden administration has pledged to increase natural gas exports to the European Union, though a large increase in natural gas exports could face challenges, including production timelines and existing pipeline and export terminal capabilities.
While the survey finds broad support for exporting natural gas to Europe, the findings also underscore how potential impacts on domestic prices are front-of-mind for large shares of Americans.
Two-thirds (67%) say the impact on natural gas prices in the U.S. should be a major consideration when it comes to whether the U.S. should export large amounts of natural gas to European countries. Both those in favor of and opposed to exporting U.S. natural gas to Europe agree that the impact on domestic prices should be a major consideration.
Prices rank ahead of other considerations, including the impact on climate change and the Russian economy. About half (51%) say the impact on climate change should be a major consideration when it comes to whether the U.S. should export large amounts of natural gas to Europe. Those who oppose increasing natural gas exports to Europe are more likely than those who favor this to say that climate impacts should be a major consideration (64% vs. 44%). Climate experts have raised concerns about the effects that President Joe Biden’s plan to increase natural gas exports might have on the administration’s climate goals.