The hype surrounding ethanol is certainly drawing consumer attention to flex-fuel vehicles. But the reality is making potential shoppers think twice.
According a Synovate study, 37% of US consumers would consider purchasing an E85 vehicle the next time they're shopping for a car or truck. But a third of those same consumers say no way after learning about the reduction in fuel economy associated with ethanol. There was no mention if those surveyed were told that E85 sometimes enhances acceleration performance.
The survey also asked about hybrids and discovered that consideration of hybrid as a purchase has flattened out at 50%.
Emerging technologies such as the plug-in hybrid have low consumer awareness. But once the consumer hears an explanation about grid-connected hybrids, the level of consideration goes up to 49%.
The survey exposes the challenges the ethanol community faces in convincing consumers to use alternative fuels, especially if prices are not significantly lower than conventional gasoline.