Browse releases

By date

September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006

Media Resources

Print

Release Date: 05/22/2012

CR Survey: Americans Say Fuel Economy Most Important Car Buying Factor

Nearly three-quarters of drivers would consider an alternative fuel vehicle for their next car

YONKERS, NY — With fuel prices at near record levels, consumers are driving less and contemplating a move to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, according to recent survey by Consumer Reports. 

The survey found that 37 percent said their leading consideration when shopping for their next car will be fuel economy. A distant second was quality (17 percent) followed by safety (16 percent), value (14 percent) and performance (6 percent).  
  
“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.”

Some two-thirds of owners surveyed said they expected their next vehicle to get better fuel mileage than the one they’re driving now. While gasoline costs (90 percent) were the number one reason cited for wanting a more fuel-efficient vehicle, more than half of respondents also had other reasons, including a desire to be more environmentally friendly (62 percent) and concern about dependence on foreign oil (56 percent).

Women disproportionately said they were motivated by the environmental benefit of better fuel economy (65 percent vs. 58 percent of men), more concerned about dependence on foreign oil (63 percent vs. 49 percent of men), and impacted by changes on the home front (38 percent vs. 31 percent).

For more information regarding Consumer Reports’ fuel economy survey, helpful fuel economy tips and advice on selecting the most fuel-efficient car for your needs visit www.ConsumerReports.org/fuel.

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.   

Of those who said they plan to move to a different type, owners of large SUVs were the most open to downsizing, frequently planning to move to a smaller SUV. Small cars were the leading category targeted by survey respondents for their next vehicle, followed by larger sedans and midsized SUVs. Further illuminating a future market shift, larger sedans (18 percent) and minivans (7 percent) are on fewer participants’ radar relative to their current model.

With the federal government expected to finalize new fuel efficiency standards later this year that would require manufacturer’s average fuel economy to reach 54.5 miles-per-gallon by 2025, some 90 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statements “Auto manufacturers should offer a greater variety of cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles in the near future.” Almost 80 percent felt the same about the statements "Fuel economy standards should require auto manufacturers to increase the overall fleet average to at least 55 miles per gallon," (79%) and "I am willing to pay extra for a more fuel efficient vehicle if I can recover the additional cost through lower fuel costs" (81%). 
 
“When gas prices are high, it’s always tempting to rush to trade-in for a more fuel-efficient car to save at the pump. But our research has shown that you’re often better off financially to stick it out with the vehicle you have if it’s less than three years old, because a new vehicle will cost you more in depreciation than you would save on gas” said Bartlett. 

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted the random, nationwide telephone survey in two waves, April 5-7 and April 12-15, 2012, contacting 2,009 adults. The Center interviewed 1,702 adults in households that had at least one car.

For more information regarding Consumer Reports’ survey on fuel economy, visit www.ConsumerReports.org.

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications.  Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

See press release archive

RSS News Feed

Get all the latest information from the CR Press Room delivered right to your desktop.