MPG Before Safety!According to a recent survey by Consumer Reports, U.S. drivers now care more about fuel economy when shopping for a new vehicle than anything else. 37% said their leading consideration when shopping for their next car will be fuel economy. A distant second was quality (17%) followed by safety (16%), value (14%) and performance (6%). And this isn't just because of high(er) gasoline prices, though that's the main reason. Other reasons include a desire to be more environmentally friendly (62%) and concern about dependence on foreign oil (56%).
"These results make it clear that high fuel prices are continuing to impact driver behavior and influencing future purchase considerations," said Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports deputy auto editor. "While quality, safety and value are still important, this may be foreshadowing a market shift by folks seeking relief at the pump."
Another piece of good news for the automakers who are working on electric cars, nearly three-quarters of drivers would consider an alternative fuel vehicle for their next car. Of course, there's a big step between "considering" something and doing it, and a lot will depend on the price, range, and reliability of the next generation of electric vehicles, but it's still easier to make the transition with an open mind than with a negative prejudice against the new technology.
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, nearly three quarters (73 percent) of participants said they would consider some type of alternatively fueled vehicle, with flex-fuel (which can run on E85 ethanol) and hybrid models leading the way. Younger buyers were more likely to consider an alternatively-fuel or purely electric vehicle than drivers over the age of 55.