Chicago—December 12, 2005—More than 70 percent of consumers said it would take gasoline prices in excess of $3 a gallon before they would be motivated to replace their current vehicle with a more fuel-efficient alternative, according to a recent Cars.com survey that targeted the future effect of gas prices on consumer buying habits.
Of that 70 percent, 30 percent said gas prices would have to hit $4 a gallon before they would take action. However, many people already have been affected by the high cost of gasoline. More than 14 percent of those surveyed said they have already replaced their car because of high gas prices.
"The survey is very consistent with what we are seeing on our website when it comes to searches for fuel-efficient vehicles," said Joe Wiesenfelder, senior editor at Cars.com. "When gasoline prices briefly touched $3 a gallon, searches for fuel-efficient vehicles skyrocketed. Those searches then dropped off as gasoline prices began to fall."
The vast majority of consumers (82 percent) said that any vehicle they would own or plan to purchase would have to achieve at least 25 mpg. Thirty percent of respondents wouldn't settle for any less than 30 to 35 mpg, while more than 27 percent said they are looking for a car that gets more than 35 mpg.
In order to save money at the pump on a regular basis, a majority of consumers (63 percent) said they would consider a hybrid vehicle for their next purchase. Of the consumers who said they have no interest in hybrid vehicles, 75 percent wouldn't go that route either because hybrids are too expensive or because the consumer isn't comfortable with the technology and wants to wait until manufacturers work out the bugs.
What are consumers willing to give up to achieve better fuel efficiency? More than 38 percent said they would sacrifice vehicle size, and more than 26 percent said they would give up acceleration. Roughly one in five said they wouldn't sacrifice anything to get better gas mileage.
The Cars.com fuel-efficiency survey was conducted online by Impulse Research Corp. using a random sample of 1,515 U.S. residents who either recently purchased a vehicle or plan to purchase a vehicle in the next year.
Cars.com lists more than 1.4 million vehicles from 10,000 dealer customers, classified advertisers and private parties to offer consumers the best selection of new and used cars online, as well as the content, tools and advice to support their shopping experience. Cars.com combines powerful inventory search tools and new-car configuration with pricing information, photo galleries, buying guides, side-by-side comparison tools, original editorial content and reviews to help millions of consumers connect with sellers each month.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, (http://classifiedventures.com), which is owned by six leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), Knight Ridder (NYSE: KRI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).