Car buyers will give up size, not power, for mpg
CNNMoney.com/KBB.com survey says car shoppers unwilling to give up performance or luxury labels to save gas.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Almost a quarter of car shoppers would be willing to sacrifice size, performance, prestige and even pay more money to buy a car that got five more miles per gallon, according to a survey conducted by Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com Web site at the request of CNNMoney.com.
But about the same percentage said they wouldn't be willing to sacrifice anything to get a car with that kind of fuel savings.
The survey asked car shoppers, defined as those who said they intended to purchase a vehicle within the next six months, which of four trade-offs they'd be willing to make when selecting their next vehicle if it would mean an extra five miles per gallon. Respondents could also choose "all of the above."
About half of the respondents said they would be willing to make certain specific trade-offs to get that kind of mileage gain.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they would be willing to buy a smaller vehicle to save that much, making that the most popular response. Less than half that many, 12 percent, said they'd be willing to buy a less prestigious brand of car to get five more miles per gallon.
Only eight percent said they would be willing to get an engine with 100 less horsepower.
"In a lot of instances, you'd be giving up more than half the available horsepower in the car," said Jack Nerad, editorial director of KBB.com.
Still, based on a review of models with various available engine options, that's about what it would take to gain five miles per gallon in fuel economy.
Another nine percent said they would be willing to pay more money to get that kind of extra fuel mileage. That response indicates a willingness among those respondents to purchase a hybrid vehicle or other type of vehicle that would get increased fuel mileage without sacrificing size or power.
Roughly 22 percent, however, said they would be willing to do "all of the above" to get an extra five miles per gallon. The same percentage indicated they wouldn't be willing to sacrifice anything.
In reality, said Nerad, many car buyers who said they'd be willing to sacrifice something might end up falling into that last group when it comes time to select the car they will actually buy.
"It's politically correct to say you're willing to do something," Nerad said.
Overall, 629 car shoppers completed the survey which has an estimated two to three percent margin of error.
What would you give up to get 5 mpg?