At a press conference going on right now in Sacramento, officials from the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) are announcing the results of a survey done earlier this month (from the 12th to the 14th) in California on driving green, hybrids and diesels.
The big numbers are pretty standard fare: 79 percent of California voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about California's energy dependence and 63 percent are very or somewhat concerned about climate change.

Since DTF is behind the study (but it was conducted by David Binder Research of San Francisco), respondents were asked about diesels, especially compared to the green car of choice, hybrids. According to the survey (which has a margin of error of 4.4 percent), with a little education, diesel vehicles could overtake hybrids as the green car of choice. From DTF:

The survey asked respondents to choose what type of vehicle they would purchase to show their concern for the environment. Some 60 percent of Californians said they would choose a hybrid-electric vehicle over a clean diesel vehicle (29 percent) – "both of which had the same fuel economy and emissions output."

However, those percentages changed when respondents were asked if they knew the clean diesel option was "up to $2,000 less expensive than the hybrid electric option, and both options had comparable emissions and fuel economy." In that case, 54 percent said they would choose a clean diesel vehicle over a hybrid electric vehicle (38 percent). (read the entire release after the jump)

With all of the new diesels coming to the U.S. soon, we'll easily be able to see if this trend plays out in sales nationwide.

[Source: DTF]
Survey Shows 79% of Californians Concerned about Energy Security; Diesel Technology Viewed as Part of Environment, Emissions Solution

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – April 19, 2007 – A significant majority of Californians are concerned about climate change and the state's reliance on imported energy, and they view clean diesel technology a positive solution to both problems, according to the results of a public opinion poll released today.

Most Californians believe their personal vehicle is a contributor to climate change, they want the government to have a fuel-neutral approach to all technologies when looking for solutions to environmental challenges, and they believe state state's air quality has improved or remained the same over the past 20 years, the poll shows.

The public opinion survey was conducted April 12-14 by David Binder Research of San Francisco. The survey had a sample size of 500 California voters and a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

The survey was sponsored by the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF), a non-profit public education and outreach organization made up of diesel vehicle and engine makers, components manufacturers and fuel providers. The DTF, based in Frederick, Md., released the survey results today as part of its Clean Diesel Technology Tour, the largest gathering ever of clean diesel executives, vehicles and technologies, taking place today at the Sacramento Convention Center.

"These survey findings underscore the role in California of clean diesel as a competitive technology for goods movement, personal transportation and near-term solutions to critical energy and environmental challenges," said DTF Executive Director Allen Schaeffer.

Some 79 percent of California voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" that California continues to import an increasing percentage of its energy, while 63 percent are very or somewhat concerned about climate change, .

When asked, "Do you think your personal vehicle has any impact on the earth's climate," 60 percent of respondents said yes, 33 percent or survey respondents said no, and 7 percent didn't know or declined to answer.

The survey asked respondents to choose what type of vehicle they would purchase to show their concern for the environment. Some 60 percent of Californians said they would choose a hybrid-electric vehicle over a clean diesel vehicle (29 percent) – "both of which had the same fuel economy and emissions output."

However, those percentages changed when respondents were asked if they knew the clean diesel option was "up to $2,000 less expensive than the hybrid electric option, and both options had comparable emissions and fuel economy." In that case, 54 percent said they would choose a clean diesel vehicle over a hybrid electric vehicle (38 percent).

Schaeffer said the survey results added statistical support for what most in the diesel industry suspected. "Californians recognize the key role diesel technology plays in the state's goods movement and farm and construction industries, but they surprised us somewhat in their recognition of diesel passenger cars," Schaeffer said.

"We know clean diesel vehicles get up to 40 percent better fuel economy than comparable gasoline vehicles. And we know clean diesel vehicle emissions technology is making them as clean as gasoline vehicles," Schaeffer said.

"What we wanted to know is: If a clean diesel is cost-competitive or superior to a hybrid vehicle, would consumers be likely to choose a clean diesel? How much does the price of the technology affect the market competition between both platforms," he said.

"Now we know that consumers are likely to choose a clean diesel vehicle over a hybrid electric once they compare fuel economy, emissions and price. This suggests to us that consumers recognize other fuel efficient technologies and are receptive to them," Schaeffer said.

Automakers are set to begin introducing clean diesel passenger vehicles in during the 2008 model year.

Other significant findings of the research include:
  • Some 65 percent of Californians believe the state's air quality has improved or remained the same during the past 20 years, while only 9 percent believe it has gotten worse.
  • Asked if government policies to reduce energy consumption and air pollution should favor certain technologies, or let technology improvements meet specific standards, 64 percent favored results-driven public policy while 27 percent favored government picking favored technologies.
  • On a related question, 69 percent of respondents said government should not choose between compressed natural gas or clean diesel powered large vehicles if both technologies comparably reduced fuel consumption and emissions.
  • Asked "which do you think is the most likely way that climate change will be addressed," 28 percent said "new technologies driven by consumer demand," 20 percent said "new laws and regulations," 12 percent said "individual action," and 32 percent said "a combination of each."
  • When people think of "diesel," 61 percent think of heavy-duty trucks, 16 percent think of passenger vehicles, and 8 percent think of off-road equipment like tractors.
"We commissioned this poll because the diesel industry is committed to helping find technology solutions to California's pressing concerns," Schaeffer said. "We're trying to measure a baseline of knowledge about clean diesel technology among the state's residents and how that baseline shifts when people are given more information. These results provide us with a great measure of hope."

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The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the progress and potential of diesel technology in all applications. It represents the leaders of the diesel industry including engine and equipment makers, key component manufacturers, fuel producers and emissions control technology manufacturers. The Forum brings together a broad range of diesel stakeholders including diesel users, public & environmental interest groups, and government regulators to encourage the exchange of information, findings and ideas about the current and future use of diesel technology. For more information about the Forum visit our web site at www.dieselforum.org.

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