German automotive supplier Continental AG commissioned a study of drivers in China, Germany, France, UK, Japan, Austria, Switzerland and the U.S. earlier this year to evaluate their views on more environmentally friendly cars. Nearly half of all the surveyed drivers reported that they have adjusted their driving habits in response to the rapid increase in fuel prices in the past year. Almost 63 percent of Japanese and 55 percent of German drivers have changed while only 42.8 percent of Americans have adjusted. The survey was conducted early this year and if the question was asked again today the numbers would probably be higher, especially in the U.S. where prices have risen by more than 30 percent since the start of the year.
Not surprisingly the increase in fuel prices has increased interest in alternative drivetrains such as hybrids and pure electric systems. Thirty-six percent of drivers are interested in and likely to buy a hybrid vehicles. One fifth of all drivers were aware of hybrid drives with one third of Austrian and French drivers knowing about them. Electric cars came in second in alternative recognition at 16.8 percent. More than 58 percent of international drivers also correctly assumed that hybrids cost more to buy although they also expect operating cost savings to offset the extra purchase price. As has been shown in other studies two thirds of drivers reported driving shorter routes that would be good applications for hybrid and electric cars. As a supplier interested in providing more components for hybrid and electric vehicles such as motors, electronics and batteries, the study is good news for Continental.

[Source: The Auto Channel]

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