Survey Examines Consumer Response to Higher Prices at the Pump
TUSTIN, Calif. --- A survey conducted by AutoPacific's VehicleVoice confirms that many consumers are paying more for gasoline now than they did a month ago, and they expect to pay an additional 25 to 30 cents more per gallon a year from now. The Fuel Price Impact Survey is based on the results of a VehicleVoice Internet survey with 1,058 respondents between Jan. 16 and Jan. 23, 2006.In January the median price respondents said they paid for fuel increased by about 15 cents per gallon (to $2.37) following a dramatic 68 cents per gallon decrease from September to December. The median price respondents expected to pay one year from now increased by 18 cents per gallon to $2.63 over the past month.Many drivers reconsider the types of vehicles they are driving when fuelprices spike higher. Drivers of sport utility vehicles represent about 25 percent of the total car market today. In September, when fuel prices peaked, about 27 percent of SUV drivers indicated they would consider shifting the type of vehicle they drive to something more fuel efficient. But that shift declined to 19 percent in December, and further declined to 11 percent in January -- despite the 15-cent fuel price increase in the same period. While less than 1 percent of respondents currently drive a hybrid, about 11 percent said they will consider a hybrid when they replace their current vehicle. A total of 96 percent of respondents said the U.S. needs to be less dependant on imported oil, and 77 percent said manufacturers should produce more vehicles capable of running on E85. But only 42 percent said they would be willing to pay more for domestically sourced E85 than for largely imported gasoline, and only 40 percent would acceptreduced mpg for an E85 powered vehicle.