BEHAVIOR AT THE PUMP
Our fuel surveys over the years have revealed
one surprising insight: Consumers will literally
“inconvenience” themselves if they think they can
save 5 cents per gallon. Overall, 39% of consumers are willing to drive 10 minutes out of the way
to save that nickel per gallon. From 2013 to 2014,
this behavior is relatively unchanged.
Given that the average fill-up is 9 gallons, this
means that total savings for these actions are
around 45 cents for the fill-up. Assuming that the
car gets 30 miles per gallon at 45 miles per hour,
this 20-minute round-trip to save approximately
45 cents would consume a half-gallon of gasoline,
or $1.65 — when a gallon costs $3.30.
just 38% of consumers would consider buying a diesel fuel-powered vehicle over the next decade. However, their willingness to consider diesel vehicles
significantly increased in the six months between
the May and November 2013 surveys: In May, 31%
of consumers who plan to purchase a vehicle in the
next two years said they would consider a diesel vehicle, while 50% of consumers said in November that
they were likely to consider a diesel vehicle.
E15 AND E85
NACS asked consumers about higher ethanol blends
— E15 and E85 — in a May 2013 survey to assess their
familiarity with the alternative fuels.
Only 26% said they are familiar with E15, and this
lack of awareness significantly diminishes potential
demand. After E15 was described to surveyed participants, only 59% said they would consider purchasing
E15 if it were the same price per gallon as regular gasoline. Further complicating matters, these consumers
said their primary vehicle is model year 2001 or earlier, which would prohibit them from using E15. So
only 34% of consumers surveyed are authorized and
willing to consider purchasing E15.
Worse, most consumers are wary of E15: 55% said
they would not purchase E15 because they’re worried
it would damage their vehicles and 45% are worried
about decreased performance and fuel efficiency.
Surprisingly, consumers were not much more familiar with E85, which has been in the market for
more than a decade. Only 29% of consumers said they
were familiar with the product and only 10% said they
drive a flex-fuel vehicle, a requirement for using E85.
ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES
While gasoline is the top choice for vehicle fueling options, consumers do want to see more alternative-fueled
vehicles emerging over the next 10 years, according to
a November 2013 NACS survey.
Consumers also want more than just more alter-native-fuel vehicle options — three in four (74%)
would consider buying a hybrid electric in the next 10
years, three in five would consider purchasing a flex
fuel (62%), fuel cell (58%) or battery electric vehicle
(58%). Half of consumers would consider a natural
gas-powered vehicle (53%).
Interestingly, consumers who say they are open
to purchasing these “green” vehicles are heavily motivated by economic incentives. Two in three consumers say the switch to an alternative fuel would
I WOULD DRIVE 10 MINUTES OUT OF
MY WAY TO SAVE 5 CENTS PER GALLON
Somewhat Disagree Strongly
(Source: 2014 NACS Consumer Fuels Report)