According to the survey of 2,500 people aged on average 30 years in cities across the country, 76 percent said they did what they could to save energy, the China Youth Daily reported.
However, with monthly income averaged at 2,977 yuan (392 dollars), 76 percent would like to buy a car once they have enough money.
The results showed that the young people would like to protect the environment and support sustainable consumption, but only if their living standards were not impacted, according to the survey.
Thirty-eight percent of the respondents wanted to own a big house and 21 percent wanted to travel abroad, while 78 percent expected the government to take the responsibility of protecting the environment.
"Strong resistance is highly likely if the public are required to sacrifice their current living standards for the sake of sustainable consumption," the newspaper said.
As China has ridden its phenomenal economic boom in recent years, its output of greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming has similarly sky-rocketed.
China now rivals the United States as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, thanks largely to a heavy dependence of coal for energy and an enormous amount of new cars hitting the roads.