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Americans Considering a Smaller, Fuel-Efficient Car as Their Next

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Among the key factors that the Americans will consider when buying their next car is fuel economy, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey. As it has always been the case, an ever increasing trend of gas prices has led to fewer vehicles being driven and serious considerations of changing big fuel guzzling vehicles for smaller ones among consumers.

As Consumer Reports’ survey indicates, more people are opting to go for smaller, more efficient vehicles than hold on to bigger cars. Citing fuel economy as a key factor, 37% of respondents in the aforementioned survey will buy smaller cars in the future. Only 17%, 16%, 14%, and 6% of the respondents cited quality, safety, value, and performance, respectively, as a primary factor to consider in purchasing their next car.

While explaining the results, Jeff Barlett, Consumer Reports deputy auto editor, said that high fuel prices will therefore continue to significantly impact driver behavior and future purchase decisions. He cited fuel economy considerations as a factor greatly overshadowing other important variables like quality and value.

Previously, anytime gas prices increased at the pump, larger vehicles lost popularity. For instance, larger cars only regained popularity when gasoline prices dropped from a $4.00 a gallon high.

When asked on the issue of gas mileage and fuel-efficiency, 67% expected their next car to get better fuel mileage compared to their current ones. Of these, 62% desired that their next vehicle be more environmentally friendly. 56% of respondents raised a concern about dependency on foreign oil.

The study also showed that car owners were considering different ways of saving at the pump; some cited downsizing, others looking at diesel engine models, hybrids, and electric cars. A significant 73% said they’d consider alternatively fueled vehicles. Flex-fuel, which can run on E85 ethanol and hybrid models topped the list. This was more popular in younger (below 55) vehicle owners.

Large SUVs, which were once very popular, seemed to be on a losing end with more owners planning to downsize and planning to go for smaller SUVs. Larger sedans (at 18%) and minivans (at 7%) had also lost popularity compared to owner’s current models and future preferences.

The methodology applied by Consumer Reports National Research Center involved a random nationwide telephone sampling of 2,009 adults in two phases: April 5-7 and April 12-15, 2012. 1,702 adults in households that owned at least one car were interviewed.

[via cleantechnica]

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