Green A Low Factor In Car Buying Decisions

The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) recently released a report that looks at the constraints owners may have when attempting to purchase an electric vehicle. MTI was joined by Bradley Flamm, a sustainability professor from Temple University, and Asha Weinstein Agrawal, an urban planning professor from San José State University.

Researchers found that vehicle features along with family and/or work responsibilities were the largest determining factors for vehicle choice, and that pro-environmental concerns seemed to rarely effect purchase patterns. The team concluded that safety, comfort and reliability overshadowed an eco-friendly preference.

Toyota Prius Plug-in

image via Toyota

During discussions with the focus group, researchers also found that there were serious misunderstandings about the actual environmental impact vehicle ownership had, as well as the variety of alternatives consumers could choose. The report suggests that auto manufacturers and sellers should provide more information about the impact vehicles have to customers, and that policy makers should make buying new, green vehicles easier, and cheaper to the average buyer.

While the study could be an interesting look at potential consumer attitude, it is important to note that the focus group for the study was made-up of only 36 residents from Sacramento, California, and perhaps might be too small of a sample to extrapolate the opinions of an entire market. Full details of the report can be download in PDF form.

Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.

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