Survey Says: Americans Buy Based on Fuel Economy

By Matthew Askari | May 23, 2012
With bloated prices at the pumps, it should come as little surprise that Americans say fuel economy is the number one factor when considering the purchase of a new car. Still, it’s surprising. In a recent Consumer Reports survey, Americans chose fuel economy over quality, value, safety, and performance. And the margin was wide—37 percent of those surveyed picked fuel economy, while quality, the second most common selection, only ranks highest for 17 percent of Americans. Most surprisingly, performance was rated dead last, making up only six percent of the votes. A recent look at upcoming lineups for many popular automakers seems to signal an awareness by the industry. More hybrid models are being developed, more diesels are being introduced in to the U.S. market, and engines seem to be getting smaller overall. Automakers such as Toyota and Hyundai have championed an efficiency platform, and even luxury automakers such as Audi have adopted an engine downsizing strategy. Despite the smaller engines, new technology is allowing for performance increases and in some cases, more power despite the increase in fuel economy. Federal CAFE regulations have required all automakers to have more efficient fleets in the coming years, but it appears consumers are responding to the more efficient options as well. In the survey, two-thirds of respondents said they expected their next car to have better fuel economy than the one they are currently driving. Source: Consumer Reports