Poll Finds We're Willing to Pay Extra For More MPGBy John O'Dell November 16, 2011
A new consumer survey by Consumer Reports finds that not only do most consumers want more fuel economy no surprise there but most also are willing to pay extra to get it as long as they will be rewarded with lower fuel and other operating costs during the years they own the vehicle. The Consumer Reports fuel economy poll of 1,008 people, conducted by telephone in late October, is being released just as the federal government is about to unveil proposed rules for implementing a 54.5 miles-per-gallon fuel economy standard for automakers to meet by 2025. It found that 80 percent of respondents support a fuel economy standard of 55 mpg or more. The survey, by Consumer Reports National Research Center, has a margin or error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points and Consumer Reports says the interviews werent limited to the magazines subscribers but covered a nationally representative sampling of households.
The finding that most people -- 93 percent of those interviewed say they want to see increased fuel efficiency in passenger vehicles isnt surprising, even automakers acknowledge that they arent doing enough. Ford Motor Co.s global marketing chief, Jim Farley, told an investor group in New York this week that only 32 percent of motorists have a good opinion of his companys fuel efficiency efforts. But the number of respondents 81percent -- saying they are willing to pay extra to get more fuel efficiency seems to fly in the face of actual car-buying patterns. In the past, sales of high-efficiency vehicles including diesels and hybrids that typically cost several thousand dollars more than their conventional gasoline counterparts have risen with gas prices but fallen as soon a fuel prices drop.
The Consumer Reports poll seems to indicate that people now believe that gas prices arent going to be falling over the long term and likely will be rising. Indeed, of the 564 respondents who said they would consider an alternatively powered vehicle such as a hybrid or electric vehicle, 89 percent said that their prime motivation would be to lower their vehicle operating costs, including fuel costs. Of all respondents, 79 percent said the price of gasoline was their chief reason for supporting improved fuel economy, and 81 percent said theyd pay more for a more efficient vehicle if they could save money on fuel and other operating costs.