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Study: Consumers Very Interested In Electric Cars & Hybrids. Diesels, Not So Much

Last week, we told you about a new study commissioned by Audi, which proves that consumers want to see more diesel vehicles in U.S. showrooms. That struck us as awfully convenient, since Audi has been trying for years to persuade Americans that diesels provide the improved fuel economy and reduced emissions they crave.

Now, by complete coincidence, we’ve received word of a very different study — one that suggests very different public sentiment toward diesels, electrics, and other alternative vehicles. If the findings are accurate, the news for diesel fans isn’t so good.

The study was conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC — an international market research firm — and the National Association of Convenience Stores. (The NACS involvement might seem a bit odd until you consider that convenience stores are where much of America gets its gasoline.) Together, the two polled 804 gasoline buyers across the U.S.

According to the survey’s results, when it comes to alternative vehicles, U.S. consumers are most interested in hybrid and electric cars. In fact, a very impressive 62 percent are excited about seeing more hybrid-electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Prius Plug-In Hybrid roll out over the next ten years. An even-more impressive 74 percent of those surveyed would consider buying such a vehicle for themselves.

In second place: battery-electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S. While just 43 percent said that they were looking forward to seeing more of those cars on the road in the coming decade, a full 58 percent said that they would consider purchasing one.

Fuel cell, natural gas, and flex fuel vehicles were on respondents’ radar, too. While only about a third of those surveyed seemed excited by the thought of new models (34 percent for fuel cell vehicles, 31 percent for natural gas, and 30 percent for flex fuel), many more said that they’d consider purchasing an alt-fuel vehicle. The public was most willing to consider buying flex fuel rides (62 percent), followed by fuel cell vehicles (58 percent) and natural gas-powered vehicles (53 percent).


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