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AARP Survey on Home Energy Costs Executive Summary

AARP commissioned a nationwide survey in August 2008 to determine how people age 45 or older are coping with rising home energy prices. The findings show relative hardships for those whose home energy costs have increased compared with those whose home energy costs have not. Further, on almost all indicators, more respondents earning up to $50,000 annually reported having hardships than did those earning over $50,000 annually.

Survey findings include:

  • Among respondents reporting an increase in their home energy costs, two-thirds have a gas utility bill and more than a quarter have some form of heating oil or delivered fuel.
  • More than 70% of respondents agreed that the government should help to pay some of the home cooling and heating costs for people who cannot afford these costs. This includes 74% of those reporting higher fuel costs and 81% of those earning no more than $50,000.
  • About three-quarters of respondents expected an increase in home energy costs in the next year. Among these, 7 in 10 were at least “a little worried” about this expected increase.
  • Those reporting increases in home energy costs were more likely to take proactive measures to decrease costs. For example, 50% of those reporting increased home energy costs tried to heat or cool only certain parts of their house or apartment to save money compared to 35% of those who did not report an increase in home energy costs.
  • 57% of respondents reported that home energy costs have led them to plan on spending less during the holiday season. This includes 67% of those earning up to $50,000 and 44% earning more than $50,000.

This nationwide telephone survey of 1,255 adults age 45 and older was conducted for AARP during August 1-10 by International Communications Research, an independent research company. For additional information contact Gerard Rainville at 202-434-6295. (10 pages)

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