October 20, 2006

Younger drivers considering new clean diesel-powered cars – survey

Montvale, New Jersey – On the heels of the new Ultra-low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) fuel arriving at the pumps, a new survey has found that 50 percent of Generation Y (18-29 years in age) and 46 percent of Generation X (30-41 years of age) would consider buying or leasing a new clean diesel car. The survey findings echo recent predictions by J.D. Power and Associates that sales of diesel cars will nearly triple in the next ten years.

The survey of more than 1,000 Americans co-sponsored by the Diesel Technology Forum and Mercedes-Benz USA also found that 70 percent of people still think that Americans are not doing enough to reduce fuel consumption, despite the fact that 69 percent of drivers surveyed reportedly took steps to change their driving practices during the past year in response to soaring gas prices.

“We are seeing that younger drivers are eager to embrace new clean diesel as they look to reduce their fuel bill and their environmental footprint, thereby demonstrating that they’re socially responsible,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “Yet it’s also clear that while consumers want greener options that help them save money at the pump, they don’t want to forego the performance, reliability and innovative features they’ve come to expect in today’s automobiles.”

The survey also revealed that while Americans are increasingly recognizing the improved fuel efficiency of diesel cars, many still have misconceptions about diesel based on vehicles from twenty to thirty years ago. Sixty-four percent of Americans know that diesel-powered cars are more fuel-efficient than gas-powered cars. This is a significant improvement from a 2004 Diesel Technology Forum study when just 17 percent of Americans said “fuel-efficient” came to mind when they heard the word diesel. However, many Americans still think of diesel-powered cars as noisier and less refined than gasoline-powered cars, highlighting the consumer perception shift that must still take place for widespread acceptance of diesel to take place.

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