The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Survey Shows Auto Makers Not Blamed for High Fuel Prices

May 25, 2007

NEW YORK— TNS, one of the world's largest market information companies, released highlights from a new survey focused on consumer attitudes towards rising gas prices in the United States, the parties responsible and those positioned to combat the surge. The report comes at a time when gas prices are at an historic high, causing many consumers to take a closer look at this issue. Among the key survey findings are the following:

  • Consumers overwhelmingly blame oil companies for the higher gas prices, with over 90 percent reporting oil companies were "somewhat responsible" or "completely responsible".
  • Not far behind are governments -- the U.S. government and foreign governments each selected by more than 80 percent of consumers as "responsible".
  • Automakers, despite negative press on their propensity to offer SUVs, are perceived to be least responsible for higher gas prices (less than a third of respondents), though consumers expect them to help offset the impact of higher fuel costs.
  • Consumers themselves bear some of the responsibility -- two-thirds of respondents said consumers were "somewhat responsible" or "completely responsible" for helping to drive prices down

    The study reveals that oil companies will continue to face increasing consumer backlash as prices continue to escalate. This has potentially broader ramifications as oil companies have broadened product portfolios beyond traditional gas stations. Additionally, the finding that the U.S. government is also responsible for prices being high has significant ramifications for upcoming elections, particularly with gas prices at historic highs.

    "The results show that consumers see themselves as responsible for combating oil prices, but are looking for a team solution from automakers, oil companies and the government to drive prices to reasonable levels," commented Lincoln Merrihew, Senior Vice President of TNS Automotive in North America. "The good news for automakers is that consumers do not blame them for gas price increases. However, they are looking to automakers to solve the problem. Meeting those expectations can make them heroes; missing that mark can be a substantial risk."

    Ratio of Combating to Causing Gas Price Increases For Increases/ For Combating/ Ratio

    Automakers       33.1%       63.5%       1.92
    Oil Companies       91.0%       85.9%       0.94
    Consumers       44.8%       72.8% 1.63
    US Gov.       79.8%       86.4% 1.08
    Foreign Gov.       84.8%       71.0% 0.84

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