Keywords: sustainable energy, oil substitutes, peak oil, change agents, energy literacy, consumer awareness, consumer acceptance, technology acceptance model, TAM, intelligence dissemination, alternative energy, consumer action, alternative fuels, sustainability, sustainable development, consumer needs
Sustainable energy: the importance of consumer awareness, acceptance, and action
The debate about peak oil has been raging for the last 40 years, yet, the fact remains that oil is not a sustainable resource and will eventually run out. It is unclear whether the consumer has accepted this fact. In the meantime, preparation is needed to find truly 'alternative' fuels; however, such new technology requires consumer acceptance and support, not only to create the technology, but to successfully apply it. Consumer acceptance depends on awareness of the limitations of the present alternative fuel sources and the goals of sustainability. Unfortunately, what is common knowledge for experts in sustainability is not for the average consumer. These experts need to find ways to better disseminate this information to the consumer in order to encourage acceptance of the technology. The first step in acceptance is awareness, so intelligence dissemination and responsiveness to consumer needs is required if these experts are to be 'change agents' with the goal of encouraging sustainability in the marketplace.