As hybrid cars become more commonplace, it's worth finding out whether people's views of them are changing.

A new study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) looks at what both owners of hybrid and non-hybrid vehicles think about these green cars.

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The survey yielded responses from 1,002 hybrid owners and 1,038 owners of non-hybrid cars. It asked all of them about their views of hybrids as they relate to both their current and future vehicles.

Perhaps not surprisingly, respondents most frequently cited environmental impact as the main reason for buying a hybrid.

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid

That was listed as the top reason by 33 percent of respondents, with expected lower costs in the long run in second place at 28 percent.

The results indicate that these owners are generally satisfied with their hybrids, with 83 percent saying they plan to get a hybrid as their next vehicle.

However, 6 percent of respondents said they don't plan to get another vehicle at all, while 17 percent of those that don't plan to get another hybrid--or, perhaps more significantly, intend to switch from a hybrid to an electric car.

Of the owners that do plan to buy another hybrid, about one third said they would get a plug-in hybrid.

The study also found that just 7 percent of respondents had hybrid-specific problems with their cars, including 3 percent who cited battery problems.

2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid

2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid

As for the non-hybrid owners, the study found that the biggest turn-off to hybrid ownership was that those buyers simply didn't even consider a hybrid in the first place.

Fully 33 percent of respondents cited that as their main reason, followed by higher initial cost, listed as the main reason by 28 percent of participants.

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Yet 31 percent of surveyed non-hybrid owners say that they are planning to get a hybrid for their next vehicle, so apparently they're not too set in their ways.

We'll see if sales figures bear out that assertion down the road.

The full report is not yet available online. To obtain a copy, contact Michael Sivak at [email protected].


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