More Green Car Buys As Gas Prices Rise?

According to a new Gallup poll, consumers are willing to shift their buying habits towards more fuel efficient cars as gasoline reaches $5 a gallon, but not to the extent that causes a drastic change in the current market or daily routines.

The survey of American drivers suggests around 45% of people would seek a more fuel efficient vehicle if gas prices continue to rise over $6. A smaller segment, roughly 20%, said they would use public transit instead of buying a new car. And nearly 70% of respondents said they wouldn’t change jobs or move to make their commute shorter.

Ford Focus 2010

image via Ford

Not surprising, those who make less than $33,000 a year, roughly 32% of respondents, are the most likely to use public transit as gas prices rise. Similarly, almost 67% of Americans say they are experiencing financial hardship, which comes as a blow to the electric vehicle market. Although buyers with a higher income, those making more than $75,000 a year, are twice as likely to purchase a green car, only 31% of drivers would buy a vehicle with a limited range, like the Nissan Leaf.

These findings suggest hybrids or plug-in hybrids may be more attractive to consumers since they have the ability to travel farther than all-electric cars. The need for extended range is perhaps somewhat ignorant on the part of drivers, as one recent study found that the vast majority never log more than 100 miles in a single day. But, we are, after all, creatures of habit, and changing people’s perceptions of vehicle performance has been difficult.

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 BananaStandMedia.com, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.