Study Finds 42 Percent of Car Shoppers Put MPG as Top Priority

By Joel Arellano | June 23, 2011
Despite a recent horsepower war that has seen an explosion of performance-themed cars on the market, the world's automakers have gotten the message that today's U.S. car buyers are increasingly citing high MPG as one of their top priorities when considering a new car purchase, and a recent study bears that out. Maritz Research, which researches consumer buying trends and habits for the automotive world as well as other industries, published a recent study showing more than 40 percent of today’s consumers mark fuel economy as being “extremely important” when selecting their next vehicle, a 13.5 percent increase since 2001. The research company also indicates in its New Vehicle Customer Study that 37 percent of the 200,000 or so people surveyed state that fuel economy will have the “greatest impact” when making their purchase. Fuel economy has the biggest impact on “Millenials,” the so-called “Generation Y” or Echo Boomers (since they were born after the Baby Boomer generation). According to Maritz, some 46 percent of Millenials consider fuel economy to be “extremely important” when deciding on their next vehicle with 41 percent putting it as the top factor when making the final purchase. Maritz, which has been conducting its study since the 1970s, also points out that fuel economy as a priority to car shoppers has jumped in nearly all automotive segments, not just in the traditional compact and subcompact segments. Fuel economy priority in the B-car segment, which includes the all-new Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent, has jumped from 14 percent in 2001 to 21 percent in 2011. Among the C-segment compacts (e.g., Honda Civic, Ford Focus), priority jumped from 7 percent to a staggering 19 percent, the highest among car segments. Shoppers have even put fuel economy among the top ten in their checklists when buying sports cars and SUVs. When researching or buying a new vehicle, how important is fuel economy to you? Why? Let us know in the comments below. Source: Ford, Maritz Research