WASHINGTON – Car-buyers, not fooled by the plunge in gas prices, are still conscious of gas as part of their budget.
A report by the Consumer Federation of America shows that consumers expect the current dip in gas prices to end and, with that knowledge, continue to prefer high gas-mileage cars and fuel-saving practices.
Despite the currently low prices, 86 percent of consumers said gas mileage will be an important consideration in their next car purchase – 57 percent said it was very important and 29 percent said it would be somewhat important, according to the report.
“There’s a good reason why today’s car buyers still believe fuel efficiency is important — they understand that gas prices always go back up,” Jack Gillis, CFA director of public affairs, said in a conference call Thursday.
Those fuel-efficient cars are increasingly available for consumers across all model categories, whether they prefer compact cars or SUVs. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014 fuel efficiency data, the average combined gas mileage across 1,203 model-year 2014 vehicles was 23 miles per gallon. By 2025, the average gas mileage is expected to be 54.5 mpg in order to comply with new standards set in 2012.
According to a study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, two researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the percentage of cars with gas-mileage greater than 32 mpg purchased in the United States rose to 16.7 percent in 2014, up from 1.3 percent in 2008.
“It is very easy to make a much more fuel efficient choice within nearly every vehicle category,” Gillis said. “So consumers who want fuel efficiency don’t have to buy inappropriate or undesired vehicles.”
Gillis said manufacturers that comply with the standard are likely to benefit from increased consumer demand for high gas-mileage cars.
Reach reporter Allison Kite at [email protected] or 202-408-1491. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.