Fuel consumption is the most important factor for Brits in the market for a new car

YouGov
February 21, 2021, 10:07 PM UTC

For Brits on any kind of budget, fuel-efficiency is likely to be a major consideration for those in the market for a new car.

According to YouGov data, over half (54%) of Brits agree that fuel consumption is the most important feature when buying a new car - compared to just 4% who definitely disagree. With environmental and financial benefits associated with fuel-efficient vehicles, it makes sense that such a feature is high on the list of priorities for car-buying Brits.

When comparing fuel conscious Brits (i.e. those who definitely agree with fuel consumption being a major factor behind purchasing a new car) and fuel indifferent Brits (i.e. those who definitely disagree with that statement), fuel conscious car buyers are most likely to be aged 55 or over (38%) and female (20% aged 55+).

It may come as a surprise that a greater percentage of fuel-conscious owners (36% vs 32%) currently own diesel vehicles. Although diesel engines are traditionally understood as having better fuel economy than petrol engines, diesel fuel is now more expensive and by and large petrol remains the cleaner option. This apparent inconsistency may simply be due to the fact that fuel-conscious Brits have different priorities now than they did the last time they bought a car.

It does look as if fuel-conscious Brits would consider different engine types when purchasing their next car. Interest in hybrid cars (38%) outstrips that in diesel (32%), offering a stark contrast to the current ownership levels of the two engine types (4% and 36% respectively). There also appears slightly more interest in electric vehicles amongst the fuel-conscious than with those who are indifferent about fuel economy (29% vs 27%).

Increasing levels of interest in hybrid and electric cars amongst the fuel conscious might suggest that these people are concerned about their impact on the environment. This appears to be true - three quarters (75%) of fuel-conscious Brits view climate change as the biggest threat to civilisation compared to just 45% of those that are indifferent about fuel-efficiency. What’s more, there is also a clear disparity between the two groups in terms of viewing green energy as the future (76% vs 58%).

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