Consumers buy big Trucks/SUVs for Cargo, Utility & Family + Dogs

Even with increased awareness of the dangers of gas burning creating 20 lbs of CO2 per gallon of gas, Americans continue to buy light trucks, which on Earth Day weekend is not a good sign The nation’s MPG is held back by SUVs, pickup trucks and vans reports¬† U-M. Fleet fuel economy for light trucks has increased very little in recent decades, from 19.6 miles per gallon in 1991 to 22.0 mpg in 2015.

While individual vehicle models tend to gradually get better gas mileage over time, the fleet fuel economy of light trucks continues to remain flat which  from 19.6 miles per gallon in 1991 to 22.0 mpg in 2015.

Brandon Schoettle and UMTRI research professor Michael Sivak, surveyed 1,230 people in an effort to identify the lure of larger vehicles. Key findings include:

  • 69 percent of light-truck owners said they use their vehicles primarily for general transportation; 65 percent said commuting; 17 percent said outdoor recreation and 13 percent general work (respondents could give multiple answers).
  • In response to a question about the primary reason for owning a light truck, 19 percent said general utility; 14 percent said large family size; and 10 percent said moving cargo.
  • More than one-third of both light-truck owners (36 percent) and passenger-car owners (37 percent) said they would not consider a vehicle type other than the one they’re currently driving.
  • The main disadvantage listed for switching from a light truck to a passenger car was reduced cargo capacity (66 percent), followed by reduced hauling capacity (29 percent) and reduced safety (28 percent).
  • Switching from a conventional light truck to a plug-in hybrid light truck raises the concern that requiring special equipment to charge the vehicle would be a major disadvantage (50% percent). Concern was also high regarding other disadvantages such as increased initial vehicle cost (46 percent) and limited or decreased driving range (43 percent). The concerns regarding the disadvantages of all-electric light trucks mirror the same items identified for plug-in hybrid light trucks.

The survey, “Consumer Preferences and Motivations for Owning Light Trucks versus Passenger Cars,” was supported by an unrestricted gift from ExxonMobil Corporation.

There is another reason that we see often, for buying a large vehicle, large dogs. Dog owners say that either large SUVs or crossovers are best for traveling with their pup, and their other top vehicle body style picks all provide extra utility and ease of access.

At the New York Auto Show, Nissan decked out a Rogue that had gone to the dogs.