June 6, 2006

Canadians’ awareness of alternative fuel technologies fairly low, survey says

Vancouver, British Columbia – A recent survey by global market research firm Synovate says that despite record oil prices, concerns about global pollution levels and dependence on foreign energy, Canadians’ awareness and use of alternative fuel technologies is still fairly low. The company surveyed over 900 respondents in Canada and the U.S. as part of an international assessment of 4,500 vehicle owners worldwide.

The survey found that Canadian and American consumers have similar awareness and adoption behaviours toward alternative fuel technologies, but while Canadians (and most global respondents) want cleaner emissions and less pollution, the majority of Americans surveyed want to reduce dependence on foreign energy.

When asked what factors prevent them from purchasing an alternative-fuel vehicle, most Canadians and global respondents said high vehicle cost is the number-one deterrent, followed by perception of these vehicles’ limited driving range. Of all respondents globally, Canadians are most familiar with hybrid/electric vehicles over other alternative technologies, but less than one per cent surveyed currently own or have previously owned a hybrid vehicle.

Direct injection diesel technology has the highest use globally, but in Canada it is the least familiar of the technologies mentioned in the survey, with 30 per cent of Canadians never having heard of it. While 91 per cent of North Americans said they were familiar with alternative fuel sources such as natural gas, ethanol, methanol or biodiesel, fewer than four per cent of Canadians currently own or have previously owned a vehicle using this technology. One major hurdle may be fuelling infrastructures in Canada.

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