AutoTrader survey finds that saving money is dominant motivation for UK consumers considering more fuel efficient vehicles
Research by AutoTrader.co.uk has found that money, not the environment, is the main driver of interest in environmentally friendly cars. The majority of UK motorists (73%) would consider going green to save money on fuel expenditure, compared to 41% of drivers motivated by environmental concerns. The average price for unleaded gasoline in the UK as of 10 May was 137.21p/liter (US$8.56/gallon); the average price of diesel was 142.51p/liter (US$8.89/gallon).
However, reducing emissions is still an important objective for motorists as 57% consider the impact of their driving habits on the environment at least once a month, with 16% of these thinking about their carbon footprint every time they step into the car. Only 23% claim that the environment never crosses their mind when on the road.
Auto Trader also discovered that 49% of UK motorists would not consider buying an electric car in the near future. The major reason for this, with 45% of motorists in agreement, is confusion over where to fuel these types of vehicles. Most electric cars can be charged through a conventional power outlet, making it possible to charge either at the owner’s home or office, but this would require approximately 8 – 10 hours charging for a full battery. In addition, the network of higher power electric charging stations in the UK currently stands at approximately only 200 nationwide.
Other factors that dissuade motorists from buying electric cars include the initial outlay costs (38%) and the car’s look and feel (26%). While manufacturers are in a position to help consumers with both of these issues, there is also an opportunity for the government to subsidize the price of electric cars to achieve its greenhouse gas emissions targets, with 49% of motorists claiming that a government grant would be enough to tempt them into green motoring.
With the continued rise of fuel prices it’s not surprising that motorists are turning to new alternatives to reduce their maintenance costs. In this difficult financial environment consumers are simply being practical in their approach to motoring. It is encouraging to see that such a high percentage of motorists are concerned about the environment and it’s clearly more of a question about getting the infrastructure in place to support green motoring, rather than consumer apathy on this important issue.—Matt Thompson, Group Marketing Director, Auto Trader