Gas Cars Still Preferred To Alternatives

Interest in alternative-fuel vehicles (AFVs) is strong – particularly in hybrids – but people continue to prefer gas-powered cars, according to a survey by the Mineta Transportation Institute.

The Mineta Institute included four forms of alternative-fuel vehicles – all-electric, hydrogen fuel cell, compressed natural gas and hybrids – in its survey and found “in general, gasoline-fueled vehicles are still preferred over AFVs.” Cost was a big factor for those surveyed: The institute said that to be an attractive choice to the average consumer, an AFV costing $1,000 more than a gas-powered car would have to offer at least $300 in driving savings over 12,000 miles; a 17.5 mile increase in vehicle range; or a 7.8 minute decrease in vehicle refueling time.

Nissan Leaf, alternative fuel vehicles

image via Nissan

Pure electric vehicles fared worst in the survey, with 40 percent of the respondents listing them as their last choice. “It is apparent that the current limitations of these vehicles (e.g., range and recharging time) are still a deterrent to their widespread household adoption,” the report’s authors said.

Still, there were hopeful signs in the report. It showed that while one-third of the 835 respondents in the survey ranked gas-powered vehicles first in order of preference, 20 percent of respondents ranked them last, with hybrid vehicles slightly favored over other kinds of AFVs. Report author Hilary Nixon attributed this to the fact that hybrid vehicles have been widely available for some time, allowing people to become familiar with them.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.