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Log In / Register | Jul 22, 2018

Higher MPG? Not If It Means Losing Cup Holders

A largest car dealer in the country, AutoNation, tells the Washington Post that selling high mpg cars to the public is like selling broccoli when what everyone wants is donuts. The National Auto Dealers Association tends to agree that consumers buy fuel efficiency only in special circumstances. 

Historically, prospective new vehicle purchasers have not placed fuel economy high on their list of purchase criteria, except during relatively rare periods of high fuel prices and then only in the context of ensuring that other performance needs, such as size, horsepower and weight, etc., and pocket book constraints are met first. Last year's experience with the federal Cash-for-Clunkers program indicates that it takes a significant up front financial incentive ($3,500 to $4,500) to cause prospective purchasers to consider fuel economy as a purchase priority. “Vehicle shoppers are overwhelmingly ‘payment buyers’ sensitive to price. So, it makes little sense to attempt to justify higher up front vehicle costs by arguing that the consumer will make up the difference over time through lower fuel expenses at the pump,” says Doug Greenhaus, NADA's director of environment, health and safety. .. "Neither the economy nor the environment will benefit if manufacturers are forced to produce vehicles that consumers will not buy because they fail to meet their price or performance expectations." — NADA editorial note to WaPo article

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