With rising fuel prices, vehicle buyers are paying attention to fuel economy. However, vehicle makers speculate to what extent this concern will actually affect purchase decisions. Frost & Sullivan has just released new research that analyzes consumer driving choices and vehicle purchase priorities as a function of concerns about rising fuel prices.
Frost & Sullivan’s Automotive & Transportation Group found that approximately 80% of respondents are at least slightly more concerned about the price of fuel compared to 12 months ago, and about one in three respondents (34%) are a lot more concerned.
If you are interested in a virtual brochure, which provides manufacturers, end- users, and other industry participants an overview of the latest analysis of the Impact of Rising Fuel Prices on U.S. Consumers’ Driving and Vehicle Purchase Behavior, then send an e-mail to Tolu Babalola - Corporate Communications at tolu.babalola[.]frost.com with the following information: full name, company name, title, telephone number, e-mail address, city, state, and country. The brochure will be e-mailed to you upon receipt of this information.
Reinforcing the notion that rising fuel prices are an important issue for consumers, a small majority of respondents indicated that they have already reduced non-essential driving and increased the use of their most fuel-efficient vehicle.
“Rising fuel prices are a very important issue for the majority of vehicle owners, and vehicle makers, prompting manufacturers to offer more fuel-efficient vehicles. However, many find it difficult to decipher between consumers’ concerns about rising fuel prices and actual consumer behavior,” observes Research Project Manager Rick Brown.
Moreover, about one in five respondents indicated that they have already started to use alternative forms of transportation (e.g., join/start a carpool, public transportation, walk, bicycle, etc.); and at least half the respondents have already purchased or will consider purchasing a more fuel-efficient gasoline vehicle or hybrid vehicle if the price of fuel continues to rise. However, the vast majority of respondents state that it is highly unlikely that they would ever purchase a more fuel-efficient diesel vehicle.
“Although diesel-powered light vehicles have captured a substantial share of the European market, U.S. consumers have yet to embrace diesel engines. This is likely due to their skewed image of diesels and the unfamiliarity with modern diesels in the U.S. Consumers still recall the noisy, dirty and unreliable diesel engines offered decades ago. But, modern diesels are quieter, cleaner and much more reliable,” states Industry Manager Veerender Kaul.
Availability of diesels is slowly increasing and demand can be expected to grow as perceptions catch up to this new reality. Market participants should work to change the image of diesel-powered vehicles. In comparison, hybrids appear to be a much more desirable alternative to gasoline-powered light vehicles and are finding substantial popularity in the United States.
Vehicle makers can increase the fuel-efficiency of their gasoline-fueled vehicles through a range of technologies including hybrid technology, lighter materials, variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation, smaller engines boosted by turbochargers and transmissions with more speeds.
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