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Maritz Research study finds 42% say fuel economy is extremely important in new vehicle purchase

More than 40% of consumers view fuel economy as “extremely important” when considering a new vehicle purchase today, up 13.5% from a decade ago, according to a 2011 Maritz Research study.

Thirty-seven percent of consumers say fuel economy will have the “greatest impact” on their next vehicle purchase. Forty-six percent of younger buyers (Millenials) say fuel economy is “extremely important” in the new vehicle purchase decision—the greatest percentage among all age groups. Also, 41% say fuel economy will be the top factor in their next vehicle purchase.

The annual New Vehicle Customer Study has been conducted since the 1970s by Maritz Research, reaching approximately 200,000 consumers a year. The latest study, conducted in the first quarter, also found:

  • Fuel economy as a purchase reason for B-cars became the top consideration in 2011 (21’percent), up from fourth in 2001 (14’).

  • Fuel economy as a purchase reason for C-cars nearly tripled in importance from 2001 (7%) to 2011 (19%), going from fifth to first.

  • After ranking 16th in 2001, fuel economy was listed in the top five most important purchase reasons for small utility vehicles in 2011.

  • Fuel economy was listed in the top 10 most important purchase reasons for sports car buyers for the first time in 2011.

  • Fuel economy as a top purchase reason for medium utility vehicles jumped 14 spots from 2001 to 2011.

  • Fuel economy as a top purchase reason for C/D-cars ranked fifth in 2011 after ranking 12th in 2001.



In other words, the majority (60%) do not care about fuel consumption of their vehicle. This indicates that It may still be the right time to raise fuel taxes. A progressive increase of $0.05 to $0.10 per gallon per month could change future buyers mind?


You ask whether or not how power or looks go into the same equation of buying a car.


"Extremely Important" is likely to be the top category of a number of choices including "very important" and "important", so I think you'll find that more people do have fuel economy as a criteria, balanced with other issues, particularly cost and practicality, and perhaps performance, style etc, so Harvey's comment is over simplistic. If this is the case, I don't think a fuel tax escalator is necessary.

In the UK, high fuel prices are not leading to the effects desired by the anti-car lobby. People are simply cutting back on spending elsewhere to pay increasing fuel costs. Consumer confidence is down, and few people have the money they need to change to a more efficient vehicle, so fuel taxes do more harm than good in a climate when fuel prices are on an upward trend anyway. It's like giving an asthma suffer cuban cigars as a cure.


I don't know Scott.... It is difficult to find the proper lever to convince people to change their acquired wasteful ways. The best tool may be a deep long lasting 1929/1939 style depression. That would hurt too many.

Using 4 to 10 times more energy to drive/feed our gas guzzlers than to feed ourselves cannot last indefinitely. We recently learned the equivalent lesson regarding our ultra large $1M high energy consuming houses. Banks have millions on their hands.

If hitting the pocket book (or limiting credit) cannot do it, we may need high efficiency preachers?

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