12 October 2010

Survey reveals nearly half of Americans find alternative fuel cars perplexing

Automakers are going to be introducing a host of alternative fuel vehicles in the next couple of years, but as it turns out most Americans aren’t aware of the differences between the cars.

According to a new survey from Mercedes-Benz USA, Americans are confused about the differences between hybrid, electric, plug-in hybrid, and alternative fuels of various kinds. Unfortunately, though, many are holding off on purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle, as a result.

The survey found that nearly one in two adults, or about 48 percent, said they would be interested in an alternative fuel car, but weren’t sure which one to buy. And only 35 percent (or 1 in 3 people) of those surveyed knew which kind of cars were best for different driving situations such as, city, highway, urban, and rural.

More adults claim to be well-informed or very knowledgeable about the causes of the global financial crisis, the difference between good and bad cholesterol and the amount of oil that has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, than they are about the variance between different types of alternative fuel vehicles.

Sascha Simon, head of advanced product planning at Mercedes-Benz USA said, "the end game is zero-emissions driving that doesn't simply transfer the problem. And, while that is still in the future, each alternative fuel vehicle we introduce is a step in that direction, providing key findings and helping acclimate consumers to new technology. Our goal at Mercedes-Benz is to provide a portfolio of options for our customers so they can choose the vehicle that best suits their lifestyle and to further the understanding and, ultimately, the adoption rate for these new technologies."

Given that car manufacturers are coming out with a plethora of cars in the next couple of years, this is the time for them to inform customers about the different products. Not having enough information should not be a reason why most Americans don’t make a switch to alternative fuel cars. We should have a realistic goal of 1 million electric vehicles by 2015, which means that car manufacturers need to take charge now.

Detailed information on each option is available on the "Thinking Green" section of Mercedes-Benz's website.

Jill Paschal | @VegCookin
Jill is the owner of the online vegan bookstore VegCookin. She is a continuing student majoring in Business Management and loves to travel world cultures via cuisine.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/albertma