European Motorists Still Prioritize Fuel Economy

By: Lauren Woods

A recent poll conducted by the Detroit Free Press has shown that Michiganders prioritize fuel economy when choosing a car to buy. The result of the poll is mirrored by a recent study conducted by Harris Interactive AutoTECHCAST.

The study conducted in five countries in the European region shows that European motorists look at a car's fuel efficiency when shopping for one. The reason is pretty much the same - people are looking for vehicles that have great fuel economy because of the increasing prices of gasoline, petrol, or diesel. The main reasons for the soaring price of these fossil fuels are fluctuations in market supply and instability in some countries which are major producers of oil.

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom are the five countries where the study was conducted. Among these five countries, Spain showed the most number of respondents who said that fuel efficiency is the first thing on their list when looking for a car top buy. Sixty three percent of the Spanish respondents said that they are very or extremely likely to purchase a car based on its fuel economy. Italian respondents are the second group who are most concerned about the fuel efficiency of cars. About 45 percent of them said that it is the most important attribute of a car that would catch their interest. Meanwhile, 36 percent of the German respondents said that what they are looking for in a car is enhanced fuel economy.

Another aspect that the study tackled is the popularity of alternative fuels for cars. While hybrid electric cars are the rave in the US, European respondents feel otherwise. Twenty eight percent of the respondents in the study said that they are very or extremely likely to consider buying fuel-cell powered cars. The only problem being encountered here though is the cost in production of the fuel cells. The high production costs translate to higher prices of these cars which employ fuel cell technology. But further studies and development in that said field will considerably lower the production cost. This then will make fuel cell-powered cars more accessible to car buyers.

While the enhanced fuel economy of a car is the priority of most respondents, the preference for other attributes varies from country to country. British motorists, aside from enhanced fuel economy, also look at a car's reliability and dependability. Meanwhile, French and Spanish consumers tend to value a car's engine type. Spanish car owners put value in the quality of workmanship and construction of a car as well as its size.

A company's reputation is also a main factor for British and French car owners when looking for a car to buy. Germans look at the value of the car against the money which will be spent buying it. Italian respondents said that they put much value on the exterior styling of the car and its overall aesthetic value.

While a car's fuel economy is a significant factor in choosing one, aftermarket parts can also be installed to further increase its fuel efficiency. For example, an component can increase a car's fuel efficiency by cooling the air that will enter the combustion chamber.

Other characteristics that European car buyers deem important in choosing a car are the safety features of a car and its smooth or comfortable ride. They also appear to welcome some of the emerging automotive technologies today. When it comes to lighting systems, European motorists prefer halogen and xenon lighting, and light-emitting diode lighting systems. Park assists and object detection technology are also welcomed by the respondents. Rain sensor and automatic wipers as well as intelligent navigation systems are also considered essential by European vehicle owners.

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