June 27, 2007

U.S. motorists more likely to buy a more fuel-efficient car than use transit

Riverwoods, Illinois – Nearly half of U.S. consumers surveyed by Discover Financial Services said that they would be willing to buy a more fuel-efficient car should gas prices increase by $1, but a strong majority ruled out using alternative transportation and would be more likely to cut discretionary spending. The survey found that 80 per cent of Americans find their car “very important” in their everyday lives.

According to the survey, if gas prices were to increase by a dollar, 70 per cent said they would cut back on entertainment spending; 66 per cent would change their vacation plans; and 64 per cent would postpone a major purchase. As well, 52 per cent said they were “somewhat” or “very likely” to cut back on grocery spending.

Although 75 per cent of car owners said they would likely drive less if gas prices increased by a dollar, 61 per cent were “not very likely” or “at all likely” to walk or ride a bicycle, and only 24 per cent were “somewhat” or “very likely” to take public transportation. Carpooling was the most popular option, with 45 per cent “somewhat” or “very likely” to carpool.

Women were more open to alternatives, with 59 per cent saying they would be “very likely” to drive less, compared to 41 per cent of men; 29 per cent of women were more likely to use carpools, versus 21 per cent of men.

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