American Petroleum Institute (API), a drilling lobby, launched a campaign targeted at young voters ahead of the November election, as the climate crisis becomes a prominent topic.
The natural gas industry has battled in recent years the calls to shift to clean energy in an effort to help the environment.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden even unveiled a $2tn plan last month that would transition the American economy away from fossil fuels, like natural gas, if he were to beat the sitting president.
This encouraged API to release ads in the weeks following that claimed natural gas was “clean”.
API has spent an average of $24,000 per day on Facebook ads since Mr Biden’s plan. These ads mainly targeted the younger audience of 25-to-34-year-olds, according to an analysis conducted by the Bully Pulpit Interactive media on behalf of Reuters. Younger generations tend to be more environmentally conscious.
The drilling lobby has also spent an estimated $3.1m on ads since the start of the year. Initially, these ads said natural gas was “clean”. This wording was later changed to “cleaner”.
API President Mike Sommers told Reuters that his group’s advertising ahead of the election seeks “to inform people of all generations of the importance of American energy leadership,” including on the environment.
“In this country, there is a lot of energy illiteracy,” he said.
Both Republicans and Democrats have seen natural gas as a “bridge fuel” as the country makes transitions towards cleaner alternatives away from fossil fuels. But states and cities across the US are now moving away from even that energy source.