The energy sector drives economic growth, but it can also drive decline. The price of a barrel of crude oil hit a four year high last quarter rattling a global economy already in turmoil over unstable political situations around the world. Historically, when gas prices reach peak levels, economies tumble. Part of the collateral damage of this economic tumble is the invaluable commodity that breeds overall confidence in the sector: corporate reputation.

Traditional energy companies never escape the unblinking stare of the public eye. High-profile blunders like environmental disasters ensure that the world’s energy companies every misstep will be recorded for posterity, and amplified across the media realm by reams of weekend environmentalists. However, when corporate issues aren’t part of the equation, is a rise in the price of a tank of gas enough to create a decline in the social reputation of energy companies and the industry as a whole? Using social media listening software makes it simple to uncover energy industry trends.

We studied six months worth of data to surface insights from conversations people are having online about oil, gas, electric, and renewable energy sources and one thing is abundantly clear: the entire sector’s social reputation is erratic, and the frequent shifts in the public attitude toward energy concerns can be directly correlated to massively-amplified global news stories.

Despite the fact that the industry’s average Social Reputation Score (SRS) is 60, each of the three subsectors (oil & gas, electric, renewable) spent the last six months dropping below the benchmarked norm and climbing back to normalcy — only to fall off the table again. Oil & gas suffered the most from the public’s fickle attitudes dropping from a high of 90 (inspired by Donald Trump’s corporate tax breaks) to a low of 14 in the wake of the highest oil prices since 2014. Electric’s average SRS (42) was the worst of the trio, which can be expected in light of the winter storm season’s impact on so many people, while renewable energy’s reputation benefited each time traditional sources stumbled in the public eye. For a more granular social listening analysis, download our latest energy industry trends report.

With so much of a corporation’s public image tied to the whims of global news, how can energy concerns take action to normalize the extreme peaks and valleys of their Social Reputation? Synthesio’s social listening platform empowers executives to analyze energy industry trends, so they can form strategies to counteract negative stories, and create a positive story that will resonate with the public. Learn why Synthesio is one of the top energy data analytics companies on the market — and how our suite of tools can help your business.