Is it possible that car drivers care less about fuel efficiency these days, despite the relatively high prices for gasoline/petroleum in these recession-blighted times? America’s Consumerreports.org suggests it is. On the results of their latest survey into car brand perceptions, they write:
The only significant change over last year is that people who listed “environmentally friendly/green” as one of their top three priorities is down eight percentage points. In a troubled economy, with gas prices relatively low, green in the wallet trumps environmental concerns for many.
Anyway, Morgan Downey has already written what we were thinking: it may be the wording of the question is all wrong. After all, what does “environmentally friendly/green” really mean?
Consumerreports.org doesn’t publish the full wording of the survey, but one can imagine that if this was the phrasing that was used – particularly without reference to fuel efficiency, many respondents, conscious of tough economic times, would automatically reject notions of being green. We saw in a Pew survey last year how much levels of concern for the environment seemed to slide in preference for jobs and money, and a World Bank paper explored how people tend to rank their worries. A question on fuel efficiency might have yielded a different response.
Bad signs for oil demand in personal consumption data, so far (FT Energy Souce, 20/01/10)