Survey Shows Drivers Reluctant To Change Car Buying Preferences, But Could Be Interested In Natural Gas Powered Vehicles

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RAMSEY, NJ (May 17, 2011) — Over this past weekend, the average price of regular gasoline approached $4.00 per gallon for the first time since the summer of 2008. In a nationwide survey just weeks ago, drivers indicated that in spite of recent increases in gasoline prices, they do not want to switch to smaller cars, hybrids, electric, or diesel powered vehicles.

This differs dramatically from their reaction just two summers ago according to Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica, a research firm known for its highly accurate political and behavioral research.

"The results for the most recent quarter showed that 28% of those surveyed still were interested in buying SUVs, although preference for small SUVs outnumbered their larger brothers by almost two to one", Mayur explained. "Two years ago when we did a similar survey, drivers told us they would change their driving behavior, buy smaller more fuel efficient vehicles, and even consider cars from non-traditional car manufacturers. Today, at four dollars per gallon, just over half of drivers agreed that the high price of gas was hurting them financially, but their vehicle purchase intentions were largely unchanged".

The survey showed that drivers did not intend to purchase a smaller vehicle -- over two thirds rejected the idea of dramatic downsizing or moving to an alternate fuel vehicle of some type.

TechnoMetrica has been conducting its Alternate Fuel Tracker Survey for the past four years. The most recent wave added two questions regarding the use of natural gas as an alternative to gasoline. Natural gas, either liquefied or compressed, is widely used as a motor fuel in other countries, but is rare in the U.S.

Surprisingly, more than 70% of those surveyed said they were familiar with natural gas as a motor fuel, and almost half said they would be interested in a natural gas powered car.

Survey respondents were asked how likely they would be to consider purchasing a number of fuel saving and alternate fuel powered vehicles. Given below is the share of drivers who are interested ("Very" or "Somewhat") for each alternative powertrain:

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The TechnoMetrica Tracker also asked how high respondents thought the price of gasoline might go in the next three months and the average was $4.49 per gallon.

Mayur hypothesized that the relatively small change in overall new vehicle purchase intent was attributable to two factors. The first factor is that the threshold for radical behavior change is probably now over $5.00 per gallon, as opposed to $4.00 per gallon two years ago. The second factor being when people dramatically downsized two years ago, many realized that they were not happy with a much smaller car and were not ready to repeat that same mistake.

This survey was the seventh wave of TechnoMetrica's Quarterly Alternate Fuels Tracking research. Approximately 900 interviews were completed yielding a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

 

PowerPoint Sampler:

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About TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence:
TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence Inc. is a progressive full-service research firm established in 1992. The firm, headquartered in Ramsey, New Jersey provides both quantitative and qualitative research solutions to the business and government markets. TechnoMetrica has been providing innovative research solutions to many of the world's most respected automotive brands for over a decade. In partnership with Investor's Business Daily, TechnoMetrica conducts IBD/TIPP polls, including the nationally-recognized IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index. IBD/TIPP was the most accurate pollster in both the 2008 and 2004 presidential elections, according to final FEC-certified results of those elections. TIPP is also the polling partner of The Christian Science Monitor and the Monitor/TIPP polls regularly appear in the paper.

 

Note to Editors:
Users of these statistics should attribute credit and source to TechnoMetrica as this research is proprietary. The only way to get the entire study is to buy it!

 

 

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