Consumer Reports survey shows high fuel costs cause downsizing, less driving; 73% would consider alt fuel vehicle
In Consumer Reports’ latest survey, 35% of US respondents report driving fewer miles than they did a year ago. Two-thirds of owners surveyed said they expect their next vehicle to get better fuel mileage than the one they’re driving now, and fuel economy topped the list as the most important consideration when shopping for their next car, followed by quality and safety.
While gasoline costs were the number one reason cited for wanting a more fuel-efficient vehicle (at 90%), more than half of respondents also had other reasons, including a desire to be more environmentally friendly (62%) and concern about the nation’s dependence on foreign oil (56%).
The survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, found that car owners were open to different ways of saving at the pump, from downsizing to looking at hybrids, electric cars, or models with diesel engines.
In all, 73% of participants said they would consider some type of alternatively fueled vehicle, with flex-fuel and hybrid models leading the way. Younger buyers were more likely to consider an alternatively fueled or purely electric vehicle than drivers over the age of 55.
Of those who said they plan to move to a different type, owners of large SUVs were the most open to downsizing, frequently planning to move to a smaller SUV. Small cars were the leading category targeted by survey respondents for their next vehicle, followed by larger sedans and mid-sized SUVs. Further illuminating a future market shift, sedans and and minivans are on fewer participants’ radar relative to their current model.
Consumer Reports said that its research has shown that buyers are often better off financially to stick it out with their current vehicle if it’s less than a couple of years old because a new vehicle will cost more in depreciation than it will save on gas.