While certain parts of the automotive industry might not be feeling the love towards the tough new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards announced yesterday, it turns out that 93 percent of car owners are want to buy greener, cleaner cars.

In a study conducted by Consumer Reports, 86 percent of those interviewed said they wanted to see fuel economy averages rise to 35 mpg by 2016, with 80 percent saying they supported a 55 mpg average fuel economy by 2025. 

Consumers will pay more to save more

Interestingly, of those questioned, 83 percent said they would be willing to pay a little more on the sticker price of a green car if it meant they could save enough on fuel to recover that extra outlay within five years. 

While environmental concerns are still an important concern for those committing to a greener car, over 90 percent of those surveyed said saving money was their prime concern for looking at a car with better gas mileage and fuel economy. 

2012 Kia Rio SX

2012 Kia Rio SX

Low Mileage Guilt

While the survey reported that more women than men citied green issues as being a high motivator for buying a car with good gas mileage and low emissions, it also revealed an interesting statistic we didn’t expect.

According to the report, the further a respondent drove in a day, the less green issues played a part in choosing a more efficient car. In fact, 79 percent of people who drove less than 20 miles a day said green issues were a major reason for buying a greener car, while only 62 percent of people who drove more than 50 miles a day agreed. 

Alternatives welcome

When it came to choosing a new car, most questioned said they were interested in buying an alternative to a conventional gasoline-fueled car, with 58 percent saying they were interested in looking at a hybrid car. 

The hope for hydrogen fuel-cell cars, while waining in the auto-industry, appears to be alive and well among consumers, with 43 percent saying they’d chose a hydrogen car if it were available. 

But when it comes to electric cars, only 12 percent of respondents said they would seriously consider a pure-electric car as their next vehicle, despite the average distance driven per day for respondents being just 32 miles. 

BMW ActiveE electric car, Munich, October 2011; photo by Tom Moloughney

BMW ActiveE electric car, Munich, October 2011; photo by Tom Moloughney

As with any survey, the way the statistics is interpreted is down to the individual, but we think this particular one indicates what we already knew: that consumers are becoming much more aware of gas-mileage, fuel economy and the environmental impact of cars. 

However, with respondents showing a heavy leaning towards hydrogen instead of electric cars, we think that the survey highlights a lack of consumer awareness when it comes to which cars are on, or shortly arriving on the market. 


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