Mineta Transportation Institute
Urban Studies and Planning
This report explores consumer preferences among four different alternative-fuel vehicles (AFVs): hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) vehicles, and electric vehicles (EVs). Although researchers have been interested in understanding consumer preferences for AFVs for more than three decades, it is important to update our estimates of the trade-offs people are willing to make between cost, environmental performance, vehicle range, and refueling convenience. We conducted a nationwide, Internet-based survey to assess consumer preferences for AFVs. Respondents participated in a stated-preference ranking exercise in which they ranked a series of five vehicles (four AFVs and a traditional gasoline-fueled vehicle) that differ primarily in fuel type, price, environmental performance, vehicle range, and refueling convenience. Our findings indicate that, in general, gasoline-fueled vehicles are still preferred over AFVs, however there is a strong interest in AFVs. No AFV type is overwhelmingly preferred, although HEVs seem to have an edge. Using a panel rank-ordered mixed logit model, we assessed the trade-offs people make between key AFV characteristics. We found that, in order to leave a person’s utility unchanged, a $1,000 increase in AFV cost needs to be compensated by either: (1) a $300 savings in driving cost over 12,000 miles; (2) a 17.5 mile increase in vehicle range; or (3) a 7.8-minute decrease in total refueling time (e.g. finding a gas station and refueling).
Hilary Nixon and J. D. Saphores. "Understanding household preferences for alternative-fuel vehicles technologies" Mineta Transportation Institute (2011).