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Alternative Fuel Vehicles Gaining Favor With Motorists

Jun 12, 2012

According to a recent study by Consumer Reports, the increase in fuel prices earlier this year has 75% of U.S. drivers “considering” alternative fuel vehicles. Many motorists still like the larger and less fuel-efficient vehicles, but as gas prices rise, smaller vehicles, and alternative fuel vehicles, with their higher gas mileage, become more attractive in the consumers’ eye. According to the Consumer Reports study, 37 % of motorists now put fuel economy as their top consideration while shopping for a new vehicle. Quality follows at 17%, Safety at 16%, Value at 14% and Performance at 6%. One of the more significant findings of the new study was the growing willingness of shoppers to consider alternative fuel vehicles, particularly those that utilize E85 ethanol and hybrid technologies. Nearly 75% of all buyers surveyed by Consumer Reports were open to these options. More than 80 percent of those surveyed also agreed that they are willing to pay more for a fuel-efficient vehicle if they could then recover the added cost through lower fuel bills. In recent years, motorists have shown a tendency to shift to more fuel-efficient models when fuel prices spike and shift back to less efficient technologies once fuel costs begin to lower again. Small vehicle sales have risen sharply since December 2011, and now account for roughly 25% of the American market. Even though hybrid sales have increased, all battery-based vehicles combined still account just a little more than three percent of the U.S. market. SUV and crossover sales have remained surprisingly resilient and full-size pickups have actually gained momentum in the past few months.