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Survey reveals increase in number of 'green' drivers

Survey reveals increase in number of 'green' drivers

In these days of high oil prices, environmental awareness and increased charges for drivers of 'gas guzzlers', new research has found that green credentials are becoming increasingly important for car buyers. The latest research from Global Reviews reveals that 15% of car buyers say that 'fuel efficiency' is the most important buying factor. 21% consider 'price' to be the number one priority, 17% value 'look and style' the most. Only 7% rate 'safety' as the most important factor.

When asked for their top two priorities: 'Greenhouse emissions' is one of the top two most important factors for 6% of car buyers. 'fuel efficiency' moved up to second place, overtaking 'look and style', with 23% stating it was the most or second most important factor when buying a car. When choosing their 'green' car, 64% of car buyers stated that they would definitely or probably use the internet to find out the fuel efficiency of a car. 57% believe that it is very or extremely important to have information online about the environmental ratings of cars.

Global Reviews asked over 1,000 car buyers what they look when buying a car, how much they planned to use the internet during the process, and what information they would like car providers to offer online. They then looked at the leading websites across the industry to create a benchmark of best practice against which all providers could be assessed.

The benchmark found that BMW offer the best overall customer experience online with a score of 58%. BMW and Jaguar offer the best information to prospective customers with scores of 64% for this category. Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Audi. Jaguar and VW all offer information about the fuel efficiency of their cars on their websites.

According to Adam Goodvach, Director of Global Reviews, "the majority of car companies have recognised this 'green' trend and are providing fuel efficiency information online. The question is whether concerns over greenhouse gases will rise. Fuel inefficiency costs you money. Increased greenhouse gas is a less tangible cost. It will be interesting to see how this trend develops. For now, there is a lot more companies can do to make it easier for customers to find the car they are looking for online."

Source: Global Reviews

WhatGreenCar? comment

While we are encouraged by the latest findings of the Global Reviews survey, WhatGreenCar? notes that several previous studies have found a degree of disconnect between what car-buyers say and what they actually do. In particular, a report by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership in 2005 found that although 'mpg' is reported as a key decision factor, "for most [car buyers], little effort is expended in comparisons of fuel consumption during the decision-making process". Reasons that explain this disconnect include the fact that many car buyers assume that there is little difference in fuel economy between cars within a class (which is far from being the case as fuel use can vary by up to 30%). Also some see 'mpg' as an aspect of car design that can only be achieved by compromising performance and safety.

Although undoubtedly it is the case that environmental issues and fuel economy are becoming ever more important to car buyers, it should be remembered that, for most consumers, car purchasing continues to be predominantly driven by financial and performance considerations (price, comfort, size, practicality and reliability). Unfortunately, for the majority of new car buyers, environmental issues remain among the least important considerations. That said, Global Reviews may have identified the start of a new trend, one that will have most future motorists keen to get behind the wheel of a sub-100 gCO2/km, 74+ mpg car.

Source: Ecolane website for LowCVP Report

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