Getting Off Gas: Majority Support Household Electrification as Economic, Climate Costs Rise

New national research shows a majority of voters feel positive about switching Australian homes away from gas and moving to full electrification, as cost of living and climate concerns continue to rise.

The report, based on a nationally representative survey of Australian households undertaken by The Australia Institute and SEC Newgate, reveals very little opposition to switching off gas, and majority support for cleaner, cheaper energy options for homes, vehicles, and appliances.

The research comes after the Federal Government announced it would adopt new fuel efficiency standards for petrol vehicles, and experts say the findings will add further momentum for policies that foster expanded electrification with co-benefits for family budgets and the climate.

Key Points:

  • Right now, Australians are primarily concerned about cost of living (77%), electricity prices (64%) and the economy (63%).
  • More than half of Australians (55%) feel positive about electrifying more Australian homes, while just 13% feel negative.
  • Among those who feel positive about electrifying more Australian homes, environmental reasons were the biggest drivers (mentioned by 59%), followed by the potential for cheaper electricity bills (18%).
  • When it comes to our cars, Australians felt most positive about hybrid vehicles (58% very or somewhat positive), followed by electric vehicles (52%) and then combustion engine vehicles (44%).
  • 25% of people who expect to buy a new car within 10 years expect their next car to be electric and another 40% expect it to be a hybrid car.
    • Environmental benefits, reduced running costs and the increasing cost of petrol/diesel were the top motivators among those who had already purchased or are considering an EV.
  • When it comes to which appliances Australians want in their homes, there is a clear preference for electric heating (58% vs. 20% gas), electric hot water (54% vs. 32%) and electric ovens (63% vs. 25%).
    • Opinions on cooktops are more divided, however more still prefer electric cooktops (46%) than gas cooktops (43%).

“Our research shows that getting off gas isn’t just cheaper and cleaner – it’s also very popular with families struggling in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis,” said Noah Schultz-Byard, Director of the Australia Institute, South Australia.

“Australians struggling to pay their bills want support to switch off their gas and switch on cheaper, cleaner energy at home and in their vehicles.

“From space heating to cooktops, Australians prefer electric over gas for every appliance type listed in our survey. This research has also revealed the declining popularity of petrol and diesel cars in Australia, as they are now the least preferred option behind both hybrid and electric alternatives.

“Australians understand that electrification doesn’t just result in a safer climate for the next generation, but that it can also help them to make ends meet in the near term.

“With electric technology now readily available, the biggest barrier to making that switch is the upfront cost of transition. This is where the government could come in and support those families who want to go electric.

“This data shines a light on the policy pathway forward. Electric homes, cars and appliances underpinned by clean energy and battery storage will play a key role in confronting our economic and environmental concerns.

“Combining electric homes, battery storage and vehicles will open up a range of benefits for households and our research has shown that Australians are ready to make the switch.”

The Australia Institute is an accredited member of the Australian Polling Council. The full question wording used in the survey is included within the report. The research was undertaken in compliance with the Australian Polling Council Code of Conduct.

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