Most Americans already have taken steps to conserve energy, from turning off lights to riding a bicycle to work, and many would like to do more – if they could afford it, according to a survey by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities.

The survey suggests that many people already have made the easier and less expensive changes in their homes and lifestyles, but that the nation’s broader goals of energy independence and fighting global warming are going to be costly and more difficult to achieve.

Saving money is the prime motivation behind individual conservation efforts. But the survey found that many people also have been moved by a desire to help the environment, act morally, improve their health and feel good about themselves.

By a ratio of more than 2-to-1, Americans believe that reducing their energy use will improve the quality of their lives, the survey said.

“Overall, many Americans are ready, willing and able to save energy at home and on the road. Many others are ready and willing, but need some help,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change and the survey’s lead investigator.

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