Oil Cos. Fair Poorly in Consumer Survey

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Oil Cos. Fair Poorly in Consumer Survey

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The oil industry landed near the bottom of an annual Harris Poll survey that ranks industries on how well they serve consumers. Just one-third of the survey respondents (33 percent) said they believe oil companies do a good job.

Only the tobacco industry fared worse than Big Oil, with just 26 percent of survey respondents saying they think tobacco companies do a good job.

The supermarket industry does the best job, according to U.S. adults. The poll found that 92 percent of adults think supermarkets generally do a good job, and only eight percent think they do a bad job, giving them a net positive score of 84 percentage points.

Other industries that received high net scores included: online search engines (77 points positive); computer hardware companies (64 points positive); computer software companies (61 points positive); hospitals (58 points positive); banks (56 points positive); and packaged food companies (55 points positive).

At the other end of the spectrum, aside from tobacco and oil, the industries with the worst net scores were: health insurance companies (21 points negative); managed-care companies, such as HMOs (20 points negative); and cable companies (1 point negative).

The nationwide telephone survey was conducted by market research firm Harris Interactive among 1,010 U.S. adults between July 10 and July 16. Only about half of these adults were asked about each industry, according to the researcher.

Harris Interactive said it started asking these questions in 1997 and in looking across the decade, 10 of the 13 industries on the list in 1997 have posted declines with oil companies and airlines dropping the most (57 points and 40 points, respectively).