A new study by the University of Michigan’s Brandon Schoettle, shows that a majority of drivers want better gas mileage and they really don’t care what technology is used to get it. Drivers are only willing to pay more for better fuel economy when it the price figures inline with improvements. At higher gas prices, favorite technologies are hybrid/gas for older respondents and electric vehicles for younger people.
The study looked at advanced vehicle technologies including continuously variable transmissions (CVT), cylinder deactivation, diesel engines, gasoline-hybrid vehicles, stop-start engine systems, supercharging, turbocharging, and twincharging.
Nearly all respondents said that fuel economy was important to them when deciding what vehicle to purchase. while only 2.1% said that fuel economy was not at all important to them.
The majority of respondents said that it does not matter to them how a vehicle saves fuel and reduces emissions (51.8%). However, engine improvements (23.9%) and alternative fuels (20.2%) were the most common responses for those who do have a preference.
Respondents were asked to rank their preferences for each advanced vehicle technology at two different gasoline prices: $2.50/gallon and $5.00/gallon. At both prices, gasoline hybrid vehicles were the most preferred technology, while twincharging was rated as the least preferred.
At the higher gasoline price, the two oldest age groups rated gasoline-hybrid vehicles as their top choice, while the two youngest groups rated electric vehicles as their top choice.
Knowledge and opinions were mixed, with older respondents and males being more likely to have stronger opinions (both positive and negative) and to claim to know more about the technologies covered by the survey than younger respondents and females.
Gasoline hybrids have emerged more slowly than most other technologies, having achieved only 4% market share over 15 years of availability.
The U.S. government supports research into new technologies. Cooper Tire research has lightened tires & improvee gas mileage 5.5% with great performance.