ST. LOUIS--()--Heading into Labor Day weekend, Americans looking to fill up their gas tanks will be hit with a price tag of about $3.80 a gallon.* But what’s the tipping point? At what price will people begin to drive less or consider buying a more fuel-efficient car?
“We may complain about rising gas prices, but what’s interesting is that until we’re paying $0.70 to $1.66 more per gallon – Americans won’t actually put fewer miles on the road or immediately consider getting a car that gets more miles to the gallon”
Based on a recent Maritz Research survey of 45,000 U.S. drivers, prices still have room to increase before people begin to drive less – about $0.70 per gallon worth. When asked about specific prices, here’s where drivers put on the brakes:
|At what price per gallon would you consider|
|Driving less?||$ 4.50|
|Consider a more fuel-efficient vehicle?||$ 4.86|
|Obtain a more fuel-efficient vehicle ASAP?||$ 5.46|
“We may complain about rising gas prices, but what’s interesting is that until we’re paying $0.70 to $1.66 more per gallon – Americans won’t actually put fewer miles on the road or immediately consider getting a car that gets more miles to the gallon,” said Chris Travell, vice president and strategic consultant for Maritz Research. “We haven’t reached that turning point yet where people fundamentally start changing how much they drive.”
How important is fuel economy to the new car buyer? It depends.
While Maritz Research found that fuel economy is the No. 1 overall reason to buy a new car for the market as a whole, in actuality it’s only the top motivation for those buying sub-compact, compact or intermediate cars. Since these three segments make up the bulk of vehicle purchases, the priority of these buyers comes out on top. “Fuel economy is the most prevalent reason for car purchases, but once we dug under the surface of the survey results, we saw what’s really important to others, like truck and SUV owners,” said Travell. “For them, fuel economy is further down the list. There are other considerations, like exterior styling and towing capacity.”
With the very public nature of gas prices, however, the rising costs are top of mind with U.S. drivers every time they fill up their tank. As gas prices near the thresholds identified in Maritz Research’s latest study, the largest of its kind in the U.S., only then may consumers begin to consider changing how much they drive or what type of car they buy. Read more at www.TheRideBlog.com.
About Maritz Research
As one of the world’s largest marketing research firms, Maritz Research, a unit of Maritz, helps many of today’s most successful companies improve performance through a deep understanding of their customers, employees and channel partners. Founded in 1973, it offers a range of strategic and tactical solutions concentrating primarily in the automotive, financial services, hospitality, technology, telecommunications, and retail industries. The company has achieved ISO 20252 registration, the international symbol of quality. It is a member of CASRO, ESOMAR and MRA. For more information, visit www.MaritzResearch.com or contact us at 1-877-4MARITZ.
*According to gasbuddy.com, as of Aug. 31, 2012.