and concern for the environment impact consumer decisions
A new survey by Capital One Auto Finance found
that when it comes to Americans’ auto preferences, bigger may
not always be better and fuel efficiency is in the driver’s seat.
The survey, which examined drivers’ views about fuel efficiency
and alternative motor vehicles, found that 53 percent of respondents
said that their next car will be more fuel efficient than their
current vehicle and 55 percent would be very likely or somewhat
likely to give up a larger vehicle for a more fuel efficient
The study also explored alternative motor vehicles, or vehicles
that run on a fuel other than “traditional” petroleum, such as
electric vehicles or gas-electric hybrids. While the overwhelming
majority of those surveyed do not currently own an alternative
motor vehicle and 76 percent have never driven or test-driven
one of these types of cars, nearly 80 percent believe they are
not just a passing fad.
Alternative motor vehicles – fad or future?
Just over one-third of the respondents said it is somewhat or
very likely that their next car purchase will be an alternative
motor vehicle and most drivers surveyed think they will own an
alternative motor vehicle in their lifetime. Forty-two percent
of survey respondents predict that in ten years, 25-50 percent
of cars on the road will be gas-alternative models, while nearly
23 percent believe that over 50 percent of cars on the road will
be alternative cars by the year 2020. In the near term, however,
consumers say that pricing is the primary factor holding them
back from purchasing an alternative motor vehicle.
Understanding new technologies and pricing
With new technologies emerging, the study also found that consumers
may not be doing enough research on alternative vehicles and
may be unaware of valuable tools to consider when purchasing
a new car. The United States government is currently offering
a tax rebate for the purchase of some alternative motor vehicles,
yet 41 percent of consumers surveyed did not know about this
rebate program. Of those who said they were likely to purchase
an alternative motor vehicle, nearly three-quarters have not
calculated the savings in gas over a traditional vehicle.
Helping consumers navigate the car buying process
Employ the following tips to help drivers manage the car-buying
- Research different models. It’s important for car buyers
to do their homework and learn more about the features of different
models, especially if considering an alternative motor vehicle.
For those who would like to save money on gas and are considering
trading in a gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient car, Edmunds.com
offers a calculator that shows how long will it take before you
pay off the balance of a vehicle purchase and begin saving money.
- Learn about vehicle pricing. Research new and used car
prices online. Know what you can afford and use those target
numbers as a reference point for your pricing information.
- Research and compare different financing options. There
is a range of auto financing options available, including dealer
financing, loans from banks and credit unions, and pre-approved
no-obligation online loans.
- Make sure you are comfortable with the contract. If it’s
not the price or deal you want, be ready to walk away.