Although many new-vehicle buyers may want to purchase an environmentally friendly vehicle, only 11 per cent are “very willing” to pay more to do so, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Power Auto Offline Media Report — Spring Edition.

But the study finds new-vehicle buyers who express a strong willingness to pay more for environmentally friendly vehicles are more likely to be female and are highly educated.


“The marketing buzz in the automotive industry is all about green cars and trucks,” said Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power. “While most consumers immediately think of hybrids when considering an environmentally friendly vehicle, the price premium of hybrids may be prohibitive. However, consumers don’t have to buy a hybrid vehicle to be environmentally friendly. One can still be environmentally conscious by buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle that gets good gas mileage.”

The study also found new-vehicle buyers who say they are very willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly vehicle are more likely to purchase compact vehicles than the average new-vehicle buyer. In addition, these environmentally conscious new-vehicle buyers also tend to have owned smaller vehicles previously, demonstrating a propensity to consistently choose more fuel-efficient vehicle models.

“Despite heavy media attention on hybrid vehicles and the emergence of a greener auto industry, the hybrid market is still in its infancy, and currently comprises only about 2.2 per cent of the new-vehicle market,” said Osborn. “However, this segment will continue to grow as more hybrid models are offered in the marketplace, particularly since gasoline prices are likely to increase and more stringent gas mileage standards are expected to be imposed on automakers.”

According to the study, owners who purchase hybrid vehicles tend to have attained much higher levels of education, report much higher household income and are about four years older than the average new-vehicle buyer (54 versus 50 years of age). Hybrid owners tend to be proud advocates of their vehicles, and typically provide many more positive recommendations about their ownership experience than do other new-vehicle buyers.

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