'Gen Y' favors hybrid over conventional powertrains by a 3-to-2 margin

Consumers in the 19-to-31-year-old age range – also known as Generation Y – favor hybrid-electric vehicles over gas-powered cars and many are willing to pay an extra $3,000 for 10 more miles per gallon of fuel economy. These numbers come from a Deloitte LLP survey that was released Thursday.

Almost 59 percent of Generation Y consumers chose hybrids as their vehicle powertrain of choice, compared to 37 percent for gasoline and just two percent for battery-electric vehicles, Deloitte said, citing a Fall 2011 survey of more 1,500 Americans and 550 people overseas. About half of those polled said they'd pay $300 per every mile per gallon of fuel-economy improvement. Deloitte estimates that the average hybrid costs about $350 per additional mile per gallon of fuel economy compared to a similar gas-powered vehicle.

"Gen Y is familiar and comfortable with hybrid technology, but not so much with battery-only technology," said Craig Giffi, vice chairman and automotive practice leader at Deloitte LLP, in a statement.

The survey spells good news for automaker's who've invested in hybrid technology, as Generation Y totals about 80 million people in America and will account for 40 percent of the vehicles sold in the U.S. during the next decade. Hybrids account for about 2.5 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. today, though that number may rise this year, as 2011 sales of the Toyota Prius and some of Honda's hybrid models were hampered by supply issues stemming from the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last March.

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