Is There a Generalized Energy Conservation Ethic? A Comparison of the Determinants of Gasoline and Home Heating Energy Conservation

Painter, J., Semenik, R., & Belk, R. Is there a generalized energy conservation ethic? A comparison of the determinants of gasoline and home heating energy conservation. Vol. 3. 1983. 317-331.

359 heads-of-households were interviewed concerning their gasoline and heating consumption behavior and beliefs concerning the energy problem. They were also administered a locus-of-control measure. Ss were placed into 1 of 4 groups: conservers of both gasoline and heating fuel, conservers of gasoline only, conservers of heating fuel only, and nonconservers. Results indicate that a generalized conservation tendency was present in only a fraction of Ss, and even for these Ss motivation was not entirely one of social responsibility. There appear to be pragmatic reasons related to such factors as income and home ownership that encourage some people to become generalized energy conservers. Conservers of only gasoline or only heating fuel were different from dual conservers and from nonconservers and were also distinct from one another in a variety of primarily attitudinal ways. Findings suggest that studies of conservation behavior that combine conservers of different fuels or that attempt to generalize from conservation of one fuel to conservation of others may be misleading. (25 ref)

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