## Harris Interactive: European Car Buyers Want Fuel Economy, but Not Hybrids

##### 09 May 2006
 While fuel economy is a top concern for European buyers, hybrids are not as considered.

A new automotive study conducted by Harris Interactive in the five largest European countries shows that enhanced fuel economy is the top automotive technology vehicle owners say they are very or extremely likely to purchase for their next new vehicle (41%).

This is consistent with findings from a US-based study, also conducted by Harris Interactive, showing that nearly half (47%) of vehicle owners are very or extremely likely to purchase a new vehicle with enhanced fuel economy. However, Europeans are less likely than their US counterparts to say they are very or extremely likely to purchase a new vehicle with hybrid electric technology (20% vs. 30%).

Overall, the European market appears much less interested in hybrid technology versus what we see in the United States, especially when considering the cost that it adds to a vehicle. European consumers already enjoy access to fuel-efficient diesel-powered vehicles and are looking beyond hybrid technology.

—Bryan Krulikowski, Senior Director of Automotive and Transportation Research, Harris Interactive

In fact, European respondents are significantly more likely to say they will purchase a fuel cell vehicle (28% say they are very/extremely likely) than a hybrid (20%). Italians show the greatest purchase consideration for this technology as almost half (48%) say they are very or extremely likely to next purchase a fuel cell vehicle.

The key factor, however, is affordability. While purchase consideration for fuel-efficient technologies is high among Europeans in the five major markets, the additional cost they place on a vehicle makes them less attractive.

Harris Interactive conducted this online survey in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy and Germany between February 15 and March 20, 2006 among a total of 19,382 adults aged 18 and over. Qualified respondents had to own or lease a vehicle, have a valid driver’s license, have at least one household vehicle and own a listed European model dated 1998 or newer. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also applied to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Dmitris,
Yes CO2 of 165g/km certainly smokes the Prius' 92g/km. My enthusiasm for living & breathing cleaner air trumps my interest in fast cars, going round & round, they're so depressing..

Sorry I was quoting Prius at 92g/km, that's for LPG (autogas), it's actually 104g/km on petrol

But, that Golf running on B100 biodiesel will completely kick the prius's ass when it comes to CO2 emissions with the prius emitting much MORE CO2. And yes, the Prius will kick that same Golf's ass when it comes to NOx emissions, with the Golf emitting much MORE NOx. What is the point of this argument?

Guys, come on! This is getting to be a trivial stupid argument. Bottom line: a Toyota Prius is a great vehicle. I personally wouldn't purchase one (I'd go for the biodiesel VW personally), but I'm all for people buying a Prius if they so desire. A diesel vehicle running biodiesel AND high mpg hybrids are both much better than what most people are currently choosing. Do we really need to be sitting around arguing which of these is better? They are both great options. Let's don't be so wedded to our own personal favorite ideas that we think everything else sucks. I personally think that we do ourselves a great disservice if we think only one solution can get us out of our current mess.

There is little inherently virtuous about a diesel vehicle. It is the fuels that it can use that makes diesels a promising green solution. Likewise, the same applies to hybrid technology. Hybrid technology isn't the solution, it is using hybrid technology to radically increase mpg that makes hybrids a good green option. How we use both of these technologies is what is important.

But, that Golf running on B100 biodiesel will completely kick the prius's ass when it comes to CO2 emissions with the prius emitting much MORE CO2.

How available is B100 to the general public?

I think these arguments get confounded when people mix up things one can do today (and especially what can and will be done by the mass market today) versus future possibilities.

Sure, running B100 would lower most emissions (except NOx) for diesel vehicles, but the technology for that is not mass market ready -- otherwise we'd see it. But anyone can go out and buy a Prius and the existing energy infrastructure supports that purchse by making it possible to use it just like one would use any other car. Plus, B100 is not a panacea - especially in a cold climate.

I'm all for biodiesel, electrics, plug-ins -- whatever. But bring them to market at prices people can afford, and make it just as easy to use them as we use normal vehicles today. Then you can make legitimate apples-to-apples comparisons, and people will decide what works best for them.

Otherwise, you're simply comparing a speculative future with a tangible present, or a niche approach for dedicated people versus something that is acceptable to the ordinary person who's not a fanatic about a given technology.

Where I live, a Toyota Prius 2006 costs about 33000 dollars.
The diesel Toyota Avensis sedan costs about 6000 dollars less, and a diesel Corolla costs 20.000 dollars.

The result is, that almost nobody buys the Prius, while Avensis and Corolla diesels are selling like hot cakes.

(Gasoline is slightly more expensive than diesel oil, gas costs 1,35 dollars per liter while diesel 1,28.)

Joseph, in your effort to knock on B100 (because isn't as available as you would like to the general public), you proved/missed my point.

Both B100 biodiesel and high-mpg hybrids are good technologies. Different people will choose one over the other for various reasons, but neither of them is bad. People who don't want to look around for biodiesel may choose the Prius route, fine. Those who have no difficulty acquiring/making their biodiesel may choose the other route.

On a side note, you say:
anyone can go out and buy a Prius ...
In my personal experience (and the experience of many others, that isn't true. I can't afford a Prius. I am glad that you can afford to purchase a Prius. In my case, I paid $2000 for a used VW Rabbit. I fill it up with B100 that costs 10 cents less per gallon than regular diesel. In my specific case, the biodiesel option for me was much more accessable. And I have a car that gets 45mpg on a very good fuel. Lets get B100 in more places for those people who prefer that option, AND get more affordable high-mpg hybrids on the market for those people who would prefer that. Joseph, in your effort to knock on B100 (because isn't as available as you would like to the general public), you proved/missed my point. Both B100 biodiesel and high-mpg hybrids are good technologies. Different people will choose one over the other for various reasons, but neither of them is bad. People who don't want to look around for biodiesel may choose the Prius route, fine. Those who have no difficulty acquiring/making their biodiesel may choose the other route. On a side note, you say: anyone can go out and buy a Prius ... In my personal experience (and the experience of many others, that isn't true. I can't afford a Prius. I am glad that you can afford to purchase a Prius. In my case, I paid$2000 for a used VW Rabbit. I fill it up with B100 that costs 10 cents less per gallon than regular diesel. In my specific case, the biodiesel option for me was much more accessable. And I have a car that gets 45mpg on a very good fuel.

Lets get B100 in more places for those people who prefer that option, AND get more affordable high-mpg hybrids on the market for those people who would prefer that.

One thing is clear: Diesel is a mainstream technology in Europe. Diesels make up >70% of new car sales in some European countries. Can we say that about hybrids? What percentage of new car sales were hybrids in the U.S. last year? 0.5%?

On those numbers, the big move to diesel in Europe is making a much larger contribution to reducing GHG emissions than the relatively small take-up of hybrids in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Hybrid technology saves gas but lets not forget battery technology is not environmentally friendly(remember bhopal?)Hybrids are also too costly for most people and therefore will not create the change we need.Add the promise of biodiesel(from non-food sources) and diesel wins out.In the meantime buy a yaris or corolla.If you have a big family buy both.If you are in Europe get the d4d verso.

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