ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2014-12-9 — /EPR Retail News/ — Consumers are much less likely to consider a non-gasoline powered vehicle as gas prices continue to decline, according to a new consumer survey examining preferences related to alternative vehicles.
Four in five consumers (80%) considering an alternative fuel vehicle say that the primary reason is to save money on fuel. However, as gas prices decline, so does interest in these alternative vehicles. Each 10-cent drop in gas prices corresponds to a 1% decrease in the percentage of consumers considering alternative vehicles: 78% would consider a non-gas powered vehicle if gas were $5 a gallon, compared to 68% if gas were $4 and 56% if gas were $3, according to an alternative fuel vehicles tracking study commissioned by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
Nearly three out of four consumers (72%) considering an alternative vehicle would consider a hybrid, followed by flex fuel vehicles (42%), all electric (34%), and hydrogen fuel cell and diesel fuel (22% each).
Consumer interest in alternative vehicles has fallen sharply since April 2014 when gas prices were 90 cents per gallon more than today. Consumer interest has particularly declined for all-electric vehicles, with 34% indicating interest, compared to 55% in April. Women are far less likely to consider an all-electric vehicle than men (27% vs. 40%), likely because of range-anxiety concerns.
Besides seeking out fuel savings, consumers identified a number of other factors that could incent them to purchase alternative-fuel vehicles: 51% of consumers would consider an alternative vehicle to protect the environment, 45% would to reduce American dependence on foreign oil, 42% would to reduce their carbon footprint and 41% would to increase their driving range.
While the survey results are not encouraging to the alternative fueling industry, there may be some opportunities to expand sales. Older consumers, those over age 50, are most likely to consider an alternative fuel vehicle as a means of reducing American dependence on foreign oil: 59% cited this reason, compared to 35% of those ages 18-34. Meanwhile, younger consumers are more interested in how the vehicles fit their lifestyle: 22% cited that reason, compared to only 8% of those over age 50.
NACS, which represents the convenience store industry that sells 80% of the gas sold in the country, conducts a monthly consumer sentiment survey to gauge how gas prices affect broader economic trends. The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) survey was conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates LLC; 1,110 gas consumers were surveyed Nov. 5-7, 2014.
Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 151,000 stores across the country, posted $696 billion in total sales in 2013, of which $491 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.