Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Car Buyers Rank Fuel Economy as a Top Priority

By Reuven Sussman, ACEEE Senior Research Manager, Behavior and Human Dimensions Program

The Trump administration is expected to propose a rollback of greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards, based partly on the notion that Americans are not interested in efficient vehicles. However, a new study shows that American consumers consider fuel efficiency one of a vehicle’s most important features — along with price, reliability, and safety.

In fact, they rank fuel economy considerably ahead of premium features and acceleration, according to our survey of 1,883 U.S. drivers who planned to purchase a new or used vehicle within the next ten years. The survey used four strategies to identify the vehicle attributes sought by potential car buyers: an open-ended question, a selection of options, a rank ordering of options, and a discrete choice experiment (looking at choices among hypothetical vehicle options).

The results are clear: Americans want fuel economy.

“Thinking about your next vehicle, which aspects are the most important to you?”

In response to this question, respondents’ answers most often clustered around four main themes: safety, reliability, price, and fuel economy.

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