Consumer Reports: 39 Percent Considering a Hybrid or Plug-in For Their Next Car

Consumer Reports has released limited findings from a recent telephone survey it conducted about demand for hybrid and electric vehicles in the United States. The publication found that although driving green ranked just 11th out of 12 consumer considerations in purchasing a vehicle, 39 percent are considering buying a hybrid or plug-in for their next car.

The study underlines the importance of maintaining a healthy skepticism whenever you see headlines like “Most Consumers Not Ready for Hybrids” or “Bumpy Road for Electric Cars.” While it may be true that just 51 percent of consumers factor in a desire “go green” when they shop for a car, it’s easily forgotten that hybrid and electric vehicles currently account for less than 3 percent of the total car market.

That means that if a relatively small fraction of the 39 percent who say they will consider a hybrid or EV actually buy one, it could still end up representing major growth for the market. Furthermore, with plethora of new electric-drive models expected to hit the market in the coming years, consumers who may think they aren’t in the market for a hybrid will have many more options available to them than they might think.

Fuel prices are also a major factor in determining the market for hybrids, and while currently low, any noticeable and sustained jump in the cost of fuel has been shown to boost the number of people interested in purchasing them. At the peak of the gasoline spike in 2008, a JD Power study found that 62 percent of its respondents were considering buying a hybrid.

So while most Americans may not go to the dealership thinking “green,” plenty more are interested enough in saving money that they would take a look at a hybrid a when gas prices are high. Consumer Reports says that it’s still analyzing the results of its study, but will be releasing them in full shortly.

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  • Anonymous

    What is more important is that the Taxis should go Hybrid. They drive more in the city where Hybrids give double the mileage of non hybrid and also drive 40,000 – 50,000 miles / year. ROI can be done in just 1 or 2 years.

    Infact Federal Government can offer another Cash for Clunkers program just for Taxis. Those who trade their gas guzzlers like Crown Vic, Grand Marq and Towncar to buy smaller hybrids like Prius, Escape, Fusion, Camry, Altima, Civic should be given a small amount.

    This will promote many taxis to trade their old vehicle and buy a hybrid.

  • Anonymous

    Great insight and suggestion!

  • JamesDavis

    It is either Consumer Report or the author of this article who claims that gas prices are low. $3.00 a gallon is not low when you work at a minimum wage job or drawing an unemployment cheque. Gas prices are only low for those who own or work for the fossil fuel companies and they are only saying that the gas prices are low so if the republicans regain power they can jack it back up to the Bush administration’s rates of $4.15 a gallon or higher.

    Consumers will buy what is most readily available to them and the most affordable, and since electric and hybrids only represent 3% of the market – there is nothing out there for the consumer to buy that is affordable. I want my next car to be an electric because I am sick and tired of the high gas price roller coaster rides and the majority of my payday going to purchase that overly priced gas and other fossil fuels.

    It seems like Consumer Report has finally been bought off by the fossil fuel companies during this great recession the Bush administration plunged us into.

  • TexHooper

    Hard to say how much I disagree with some on here. Consumer Reports is spot on. I am very interested in getting a hybrid.The problem is if it does not make financial sense, I’m not likely to do it. As hybrid/electric cars become more viable, there will be more of them. As there are more of them, their prices will fall. As their prices fall, more people will buy them. I “hope” my next car is a hybrid, but it depends on many things. I live in the mountains, so I need a car that can handle the steep inclines and winter conditions. My wife has a Honda Fit. This means when we replace my car in a couple of years, my car has to be able to handle these conditions. I have a Subaru now, and I would be interested in a Subaru in the future. I am interested in a couple hybrids, but I will probably be buying a 1-4 year old car. There are many things more important than how “green” a car is, but we just need to let the free, well semi-free, market do its job.

  • Confuseussay

    I am tired of blogging I need an electric now! I live n the midwest and I’ve been waiting for several years for an electric car dealer to come here so I can purchase one. I won’t buy a g.m.product and I learned from the movie “who killed the electric car” that I don’t want a “leaf”. No lease for me. I want to own my EV. As much as I dislike the chinese, I will buy from the first company to bring a usable EV to my area. I REALLY hope it will be american made.

  • DutchInChicago

    Confuseussay, you are eh. confused. It is possible to own a leaf not just lease it. I am buying mine on Fall 2011 when it becomes available in Illinois.

  • M@

    Take a look at gas prices in the first world countries (England, Germany, Japan) and it will shift your perspective on what is low and what is high about the price of gas. It will also alert you to the fact that we are not a first world country anymore!

    While third world countries have cheaper gas, in general they also have worse roads (gas taxes pay for roads), and less-desirable other things as well.

    You also need to shift your concept of affordable. It doesn’t cost much to have a baby up-front, but the teenager will eat you out of house and home. That’s like purchasing a cheap gas car. On the other hand, an electric car’s costs are largely up-front in battery costs.

    Eventually once you learn to think/look outside the box, you see that there’s no way we can afford to NOT drive electric.

  • Dave – Phoenix

    Interesting point M@…

    If we continue to “act” like a 3rd world country in terms of low gasoline taxes, our infrastructure will begin to resemble that of a 3rd world country….

    That certainly explains why our infrastructure has fallen into such a state of dis-repair….

  • Charles

    Dave – Phoenix,

    I think the people of Minneapolis, Minnesota would disagree about “begin to resemble”, after the I-35 bridge collapse.

  • jellman

    In the market for a hybrid and thinking about leasing?
    There are some very good deals on Honda Civic, Insight, CRZ, as well as the Toyota Prius. Please check out