Here at treehugger we often talk about miles per gallon, be it in the form of an efficient, sporty diesel car, a souped down 1959 Opel, a modified hybrid or a plug-in hybrid, to name a few. Our interest in MPG is rooted in economic, geopolitical and environmental concerns. After years of struggling to gain traction, we now have new CAFE standards and MPG is finally becoming a more important part of what consumers look for in a new vehicle. In fact, General Motors says "buyers now rate fuel economy as third among reasons to buy a GM vehicle (behind styling and value). " However, for all the talk of miles per gallon, a CNW Marketing Research Study found that CPV (cup holders per vehicle) is still more important to consumers than efficiency. According to CNW
interior conveniences like heated seats and cup holders are higher in priority (73%) for shoppers than fuel efficiency (67%). Mike J. Jackson, chief executive of AutoNation, the country's largest public dealer network, with 322 stores in 16 states, sees this all the time. And he says consumers may talk fuel efficiency, but they don't necessarily buy it.We should, however, take the CNW study with a grain of salt, as they are the same folks that prepared a dubious life cycle analysis claiming that Hummers used less energy than the Prius.
With that caveat in mind, the article goes on to argue it isn't that people aren't interested in fuel economy, it's just that "they just don't want to pay for it, and they don't want to give up anything they have--horsepower, speed and size." The solution, according to Mr. Jackson, is to "increase the price of gasoline--give them (consumers) an economic incentive to buy a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Sixty percent of consumers [consider] hybrids. Two percent buy one. What happened? They literally take the back of an envelope and say, 'A hybrid costs X, gas costs X, it'll take ten years to get my money back. Show me something else.'"
What do you think, readers: is that will it will take? Or will the cost of more efficient technology come down enough over time to render the argument moot?
See Also: ::Forget MPG and CAFE, Think About VMT, ::Sierra Club Launches MPG Calculator, ::Next Generation Prius: 94 MPG in 2008?, ::Team Achieves 110 MPG Average in Prius, ::Hybrid Cars: What's in a Name?, ::The Hidden Cost of Roads, ::The Anatomy of the Plug-In Hybrid--Part 1: What the Heck is it? and ::Using Solar Roofs to Power Hybrids