New Study From Sears and Roper Starch Finds Energy Shortage is Significantly Impacting How Americans Live

Study Uncovers What Americans are Doing About the Energy Crisis, What They Are Willing to Do if it Continues and How they Rate the Government's Efforts To Provide Relief

According to a study released today by Sears Roebuck and Co. and Roper Starch Worldwide, Inc., the energy crisis is considered a major problem by the majority of Americans, hurting them financially and driving them to change the way they live daily life.

Shorter Showers and New Inconveniences

Almost all Americans (98 percent) say they are doing something to save energy, with 93 percent turning off lights in rooms they are not using, 77 percent lowering thermostats and 67 percent using air conditioners less frequently or not at all. Consumers are also giving up some of life's modern conveniences, with 53 percent willing to take shorter showers.

Consumers Embrace Energy-Efficient Appliances

Americans are not only reducing their energy consumption; they are also changing their buying habits. Results also show that 70 percent of Americans have purchased energy-efficient appliances and 88 percent say it's likely they'll purchase an energy-efficient appliance the next time they're in the market for one. According to Sears, the number one retailer for Energy StarĀ® appliances, these results underscore the rising demand for high-performance appliances that conserve electricity and water.

Reflecting the need for further consumer education, 76 percent of Americans who have purchased energy-efficient appliances have not taken advantage of the rebates offered by the government and utility companies. The leading reason -- almost half of these consumers were completely unaware there were rebates available. Consumers were also unaware that Energy Star is the name given to energy-efficient appliances: only 28 percent were able to recognize the name.

"This study indicates that consumers are willing to change the way that they behave in an effort to conserve energy, but shows the majority are not familiar with simple rebates and incentives that can support their efforts," said Tina Settecase, Sears vice president of Home Appliances. "As more people are impacted by rising energy bills, we will continue to focus on consumer education and on providing products that provide long-term, cost-effective energy solutions."

Take My TV, But Not My Car

The study also illustrates the extent to which consumers will make personal sacrifices to conserve energy if the shortage continues. 56 percent of consumers would consider giving up their dishwashers altogether, 52 percent would stop watching television and 44 percent would sacrifice their air conditioners. However, some things are more sacred. Only 21 percent would consider not driving to work and 19 percent would give up doing weekly laundry.

Uncle Sam ... Where Are You?

Aside from their own personal conservation efforts, consumers are looking to the government to provide more energy relief. 68 percent of Americans believe the government is not doing enough to help solve the energy crisis. They do support the government in certain measures to alleviate energy shortages -- namely, the decision to raise energy-efficiency standards for appliances. 70 percent of consumers support increases in these standards.

Sears was recently honored with its second consecutive "Energy Star Partner of the Year Award" for its ongoing commitment to energy-efficient innovation and design. In addition, Sears recently introduced its new 2001 Energy Star line of Kenmore and Kenmore Elite refrigerators, which are now available in California. This line includes models that exceed the DOE's new July 1 energy standard by 15 percent. The new Kenmore Elite refrigerators use only the amount of energy it takes to run a 75-watt light bulb, based on equivalent operating times. These new refrigerators can cut energy costs by 50 percent compared to refrigerators built before the 1993 standard.


This Roper Starch Worldwide study was conducted via telephone among a nationally-representative sample of 1,045 adults 18 or older. The sample was collected May 18 to May 21, 2001 using Random Digit Dialing. The sample was weighted by demographic factors including age, sex, geographic region, and race to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the United States adult population. Results are projectable to the entire adult population in the United States, with a sampling error of + 3 percentage points. Results based on subgroups have a larger sampling error.

About Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, with annual revenue of nearly $40 billion. The company serves families across the country through approximately 860 full-line department stores, approximately 2,100 specialized retail locations and a variety of online offerings accessible through the company's Web site, .

About Roper Starch Worldwide

Roper Starch Worldwide ranks among the top 20 largest global marketing research and consulting firms. Flagship services include Roper Reports trend research, the annual Global Consumers Survey of 30 countries, and the FORTUNE/Roper Corporate Reputation Index. The company has its headquarters in Harrison, NY, and offices in New York City; Princeton, NJ; Nashville, TN; Dallas, TX; San Francisco and Newport Beach, CA; and London.


SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Contact: Amy McKnight of Citigate Cunningham, 617-494-8202, or , or Larry Costello of Sears, Roebuck and Co.
847-286-9036, or


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