Energy efficiency is a priority for 79 percent of Americans, according to a poll released by the University of Texas. But nearly two-thirds believe political problems are a significant barrier to increased energy efficiency.

While most people are concerned about the environmental impact of high energy use, the biggest motivator for energy efficiency is savings, according to the UT Energy Poll, a scientific survey of 2,133 U.S. residents age 18 and older conducted March 3-17.

“People pay attention to what affects them personally first,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of the UT Energy Poll. “Price seems to be the primary driver.”

Most Americans expect their energy bills to rise. Sixty-seven percent of those polled said they expect the portion of their household budget spent on energy to rise, and more than half of all Americans expect prices to rise for gasoline (78 percent), electricity (64 percent), heating oil (60 percent) and natural gas (60 percent) in six months.

That, Kirshenbaum said, and increased media attention on energy efficiency – from appliances to cars – has made it more of a priority for Americans. In the previous UT Energy Poll, conducted in September 2013, 72 percent of those polled said energy efficiency was a priority.

When asked to select the top three reasons they purchase energy-efficient products, 75 percent of Americans said it helps them lower their energy bills. Forty-two percent said they do it because it helps the environment.

Though about 4 in 5 of those polled said they viewed energy efficiency as a “priority,” just 63 percent of people said they plan to seek more information about ways to decrease their energy use in the next six months.

Most polled said the home appliance and retail industry was most to credit for the proliferation of energy-efficient goods – 60 percent of respondents said the industry has made a “significant contribution.” Only 31 percent of respondents said the federal government made a significant contribution, while 30 percent of respondents said the same about state and local governments.

A similar poll of energy professionals by OurEnergyPolicy.org found 82 percent of energy professionals view energy efficiency as a priority while 65 percent also viewed political problems as a significant barrier.