Consumers lose interest in flex fuel vehicles

I have written before that problems with ethanol include the fact that ethanol is not a renewable fuel, and that the fuel efficiency of ethanol is actually lower than gasoline (because of low energy density per gallon of ethanol vs gasoline). Well, these past few weeks have been difficult for the ethanol industry due to falling prices of gasoline, and now a survey proves my earlier statement to be true:

Source: WBCSD

GreenBiz.com, 22 August 2006 – A new study by global market research company Synovate shows that 37% of US consumers would consider purchasing a flex-fuel vehicle that runs on gasoline or E85 (85% ethanol) the next time they are in the market to buy a car. However, more than a third of these same consumers lose interest in E85 flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) when they learn that there is a reduction in fuel economy.

“It certainly appears as if consumers have bought into the appeal of a Flex Fuel vehicle that can run on either gasoline or E85,” explained Scott Miller, CEO of Synovate Motoresearch. “However, consumers also are largely unaware that they will experience a 25% loss in fuel economy when the vehicle is running on Ethanol. While we really don’t expect this reality to impact sales of Flex Fuel vehicles, it will generate disappointment among enthusiastic buyers. It also means that E85 will have to retain a substantially lower price per gallon over gasoline for it to have any impact on consumption.”

The study, conducted among 1,240 buyers and those intending to buy new light duty cars and trucks, also found that while awareness of hybrids is now very high among US consumers, consideration of a hybrid vehicle has flattened at just under 50%.

I am a big fan of diesel, and here’s what the survey foun about the diesels:

Diesel technology is a hot topic in the US and another focus of the Synovate study. Consideration among US consumers remains low at roughly half the consideration of hybrids. However, Miller says the numbers can be misleading. “The story around diesels is not the percent of US consumers who will consider it, just those who are very interested. Our data give us strong reason to believe that if manufacturers can meet the emissions requirements of the new diesel legislation, some are going to surprise the market with the products they introduce and the buyers to whom those vehicles appeal.”

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One Response to Consumers lose interest in flex fuel vehicles

  1. […] Goes Hybrid? I have written before how diesel vehicles are just simply awesome (here, here, and here)! They provide high torque at low rpms, and the fuel effiiciency is as good as, if […]

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