Driving Today

High Gas Prices Don’t Change Drivers’ Preferences

Survey shows that drivers are reluctant to change vehicle desires, despite high fuel prices.

With average nationwide gas prices nudging the $4 mark, you might think Americans would finally decide to make the switch to smaller vehicles. But a recent survey conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence showed that, in the face of skyrocketing fuel prices, drivers throughout the country are not inclined to switch to smaller cars, hybrids, electric, or diesel-powered vehicles. The study further found that this attitude among consumers differs dramatically from their reaction just two summers ago, when the U.S. experienced a similar rapid gas price hike.

“The results for the most recent quarter showed that 28 percent of those surveyed still were interested in buying SUVs, although preference for small SUVs outnumbered their larger brothers by almost 2 to 1,” says Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica. “Two years ago, when we did a similar survey, drivers told us they would change their driving behavior, buy smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles, and even consider cars from nontraditional car manufacturers. Today, at $4 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 most recent survey shows that drivers do not intend to purchase a smaller vehicle. Over two-thirds of those who took the survey rejected the idea of dramatic downsizing or moving to an alternate-fuel vehicle of some type. The survey did, however, find stronger-than-expected support for the use of natural gas as an alternative to gasoline. Surprisingly, more than 70 percent 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. Natural gas, either liquefied or compressed, is widely used as a motor fuel in other countries, but is relatively rare in the U.S.



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