Here’s some good news out of Detroit on consumer awareness and acceptance of ethanol and flex-fuel vehicles. An on-line survey by research firm Phoenix Marketing International found that 60 percent are extremely or very familiar with the grain-based fuel. When presented with ethanol’s strengths and weaknesses, more than 90 percent of drivers said they would prefer a flex-fuel vehicle (running on both bio- and fossil-fuels) over a strictly gasoline or diesel version.
Consumers also seem to be getting the message about the benefits of ethanol, according to the survey. Consumers perceive renewable resource (42 percent), clean fuel (24 percent) and produced in America (19 percent) as the most important benefits of ethanol-powered vehicles.
Bill Saunders, president of Phoenix Automotive, says that ethanol could ultimately help increase sales for American auto manufacturers.
“Last year’s fuel price run-up and Middle East crises may have not only hurt American drivers’ pocketbooks but also caused them to feel guilty about operating large, gas-only vehicles,” said Saunders. “Ethanol power not only allows owners to enjoy large vehicles, but it can also let them feel good about the domestic agricultural economy, American energy independence and the environment.”
The survey also questioned which auto manufacturers were seen as extremely or very environmentally sensitive. Sixty percent or more put Honda and Toyota in that category, but 18 percent or less felt the same way about Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler.
The study of more than 2,000 vehicle owners was conducted just last week on-line. Here is the link to the full release.