Americans still want better fuel economy, survey says


2017 Ford Focus Electric window sticker showing 115-mile range rating

2017 Ford Focus Electric window sticker showing 115-mile range rating

Just as the Trump administration moves to roll back fuel economy standards, a new survey shows that Americans are dissatisfied with the fuel economy their cars already get.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index survey for cars was released Tuesday, and among the 10 attributes the survey studied, fuel economy ranked last among factors Americans' found satisfying about their cars. 

Not only that, but people's satisfaction with the fuel economy in their cars fell a point compared with last year. 

Since the federal government began increasing fuel economy standards for cars in 2012 (and 2007 for trucks), fuel economy has risen by 13 percent for cars and 22 percent for trucks. Yet American still aren't satisfied with the gas mileage the cars get, according to the ACSI survey.

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To obtain a nationally representative sample (unlike our own Twitter polls, for example), ACSI surveyors interview 250,000 buyers every year to learn what products and features they like.

The ACSI survey rates customer satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 100. The average satisfaction score for all cars and factors this year was 82 (up 1.2 percent from last year).

Customer satisfaction with fuel economy dropped by one point from 79 in 2017 to 78 this year.

Although the EPA has not yet published average fuel economy data for 2018, the numbers were up in 2017 to 29.1 mpg for cars (from 28.5 in 2016) and 21.2 mpg for trucks (flat from 2016, and up from 19.8 in 2013.)

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Against this backdrop of buyer dissatisfaction with fuel economy, the federal government is planning to roll back planned increases in fuel economy standards.

The study's authors also note that carbuyers in the survey said that technology is not advancing fast enough in cars, rating technology a below average 80 in the survey, down from 81 last year.

Selling more electric cars could provide a good solution to to both technology and fuel economy improvements.

A AAA poll in May showed that 1 in 5 Americans is interested in buying an electric model for their next car.

 
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