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Fact #777: April 29, 2013 For the Second Year in a Row, Survey Respondents Consider Fuel Economy Most Important When Purchasing a Vehicle

A 2012 survey asked the question "Which one of the following attributes would be MOST important to you in your choice of your next vehicle?" The choices were fuel economy, dependability, low price, quality, and safety. This same question was asked in previous surveys and the results are compared in the graph below. Dependability was chosen most often in nearly every survey, but fuel economy surpassed it in 2011 and 2012. Twenty-nine percent of the survey respondents indicated that fuel economy would be the most important vehicle attribute, while only 25% of respondents chose dependability.

Most Important Vehicle Attribute, 1980-2012
Graph showing survey response when asked what is the most important vehicle attribute. Choices were safety, quality, low price, dependability, fuel economy. This was for the years 1980 through 2012. See table below for more detailed information.

Supporting Information

Q: Which one of the following attributes would be most important in your choice of your next vehicle?
Year Fuel Economy Dependability Low Price Quality Safety  
1980 42% 31% 14% 4% 9% 100%
1981 20% 40% 21% 7% 12% 100%
1983 13% 38% 30% 11% 9% 101%
1985 8% 41% 29% 12% 10% 100%
1987 4% 44% 31% 8% 14% 100%
1996 7% 34% 11% 19% 29% 100%
1998 4% 36% 5% 20% 34% 100%
2000 11% 33% 11% 22% 24% 100%
2001 11% 30% 8% 22% 30% 100%
2004 22% 26% 10% 19% 23% 100%
2005 12% 33% 7% 21% 28% 100%
2006 20% 28% 7% 20% 26% 100%
2007 21% 30% 7% 17% 24% 100%
2008 27% 27% 8% 15% 23% 100%
2009 24% 29% 10% 19% 18% 100%
2011 30% 22% 8% 18% 22% 100%
2012 29% 25% 14% 16% 15% 100%
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2012 Vehicle Technologies Market Report Figure 17.

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