Consumer Reports recently surveyed 1,713 car owners in the U.S. and discovered that 39 percent of them will consider buying a hybrid or electric vehicle (EV) for their next vehicle. Out of that group, 60 percent are leaning towards a conventional hybrid, 16 percent are considering a plug-in hybrid and 14 percent are contemplating purchasing an EV. Of course, it bears noting that 'consideration' doesn't necessarily translate to actual sales. With all that said, CR found that 94 percent of those surveyed found fault with green cars, citing drawbacks such as high prices, inadequate infrastructure and limited driving range.

In addition to hybrids and battery-powered vehicles, CR discovered that new-car buyers show a varying degree of interest in several other alternative-fuel vehicles:
  • 35 percent said they would consider a flexible-fuel vehicle, one that can run on either gasoline or E85, which is a mixture of 85 percent renewable ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
  • 19 percent said they would consider natural gas or propane-a fuel resource that is abundant in North America. Currently, there are very few vehicles equipped to run on natural gas and the infrastructure is limited.
  • 16 percent would consider a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. This, despite that fact that only a tiny number of fuel-cell cars are being leased to customers in selected regions, and no automakers have announced imminent plans to mass produce such cars.
  • Only 14 percent said they would consider a diesel-powered vehicle, despite the well-developed infrastructure and relatively broad model selection.
  • Of those who would consider a diesel, more than half (57 percent) said they would use biodiesel fuel.
Eric Evarts, associate automotive editor for CR, recapped the survey results like this:
In the end, the survey shows that consumers are willing to consider alternative power sources for their next vehicles, but they have real practical concerns.
But it was this survey finding by CR that immediately grabbed our attention:
Only 67 percent (of those surveyed) said they are considering a traditional gasoline engine in their next new-car purchase, which may reflect a growing optimism regarding the availability of competitive green cars.
[Source: Consumer Reports]