Phoenix Marketing International’s New Automotive Research Shows Drivers Are Only Slightly Affected by the Decline in Gasoline Prices

Share Article

Declining Gas Prices Have Slight Short-Term Effect on Driving Habits, but Little Effect on Purchase Intentions

News Image
Most consumers still believe that gas prices will return back to their ‘normal’ higher range, and that they should not make future purchase decisions based on these temporary dips in pricing

Phoenix Marketing International’s Automotive Practice has released findings from its January study in which automotive consumers who were recently or are currently in the market for a new vehicle were asked about their opinions regarding the recent decline in gasoline prices in the US.

The January study reveals that essentially all consumers (97% of 1629 surveyed) are aware of the recent decline in gas prices nationwide, but the decline hasn’t had quite the impact on consumers that one might think or expect. Although the study has revealed some short-term effects on drivers’ driving habits, there are little long-term effects on drivers’ future purchase intentions.

Twenty-one percent of consumers stated that the decline in gas prices has had some impact on their driving habits. The data show that the effects are limited, which leads one to conclude that not very many consumers are sensitive to gas prices, possibly because driving may be a necessity in their daily lives, regardless of any exterior factors. Twenty-two percent said they drive more frequently since gas prices have gone down, but twenty-six percent reported no change. Additionally, just eleven percent of participants said that they tend to accelerate more quickly (which reduces fuel efficiency) now that prices have declined, compared to forty-six percent of those whose acceleration habits haven’t changed at all.

The data reveal some interesting insights on future driving plans and consumers’ willingness to take longer trips. Twenty-six percent of participants stated that they do take (or plan to take) longer trips now that gasoline prices have declined, while just twenty percent reported no change. This could ultimately result in more trips to the pump among drivers in general.

Although the results among the general market suggest that the short-term effects of declining gas prices are minimal, it is clear that younger consumers are more sensitive to price fluctuations than their older counterparts. Consumers ages 18-45 are much more likely to drive more frequently due to gasoline price declines (32%) than those ages 46+ (13%), and they’re more likely to accelerate more quickly when they drive (18% vs 4%). Additionally, “younger” consumers are more likely to take (or plan) longer trips than their “older” counterparts (36% vs 16%).

The data also reveal that the decline in gas prices does not have a strong effect on long-term purchase intentions among any consumers, regardless of age. The majority of all consumers (62%) believe that gas prices are temporary and will not impact their future vehicle intentions; there is no significant difference among the two age groups either (60% ages 18-45 vs 64% ages 46+).

Phoenix Analyst Will Fetcenko explains that “although drivers may take advantage of lower gas prices by driving more often or taking longer trips while they view it as a more affordable option than what they’re accustomed to, most consumers still believe that gas prices will return back to their ‘normal’ higher range, and that they should not make future purchase decisions based on these temporary dips in pricing, but rather focus on what matters most to them when looking at vehicles, which may include fuel-efficiency among many other factors.”

These findings suggest that due to lower gas prices, younger, more price sensitive consumers appreciate being able to drive more often and take longer trips. With this in mind, automakers could benefit from emphasizing the idea that their vehicles are both ‘fun to drive’ and fuel efficient when marketing to younger consumers. This approach also helps to ensure that even when gas prices climb back up, as they are likely to do, younger consumers are still going to be apt to drive more often and take longer trips knowing that their vehicle is fuel efficient.

To view any of Phoenix Marketing International’s recent Automotive Practice reports, please follow this link.

Phoenix measures advertising performance across five vehicle categories (non-luxury car, non-luxury CUV/SUV, truck, luxury car, and luxury CUV/SUV) and tracks the brand health of leading automotive companies in two segments (luxury and non-luxury). Data are collected monthly from 1600+ U.S. consumers who have recently purchased or are currently in the market for a new vehicle. Brands tracked for advertising and brand data include Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Range Rover, Scion, Subaru, Suzuki, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

About Phoenix Marketing International
Phoenix Marketing International is a premier global marketing services firm providing its clients with tailored, unique insight into their customers and markets via a wealth of existing proprietary data. Coupled with custom research products and the latest qualitative and quantitative techniques, Phoenix has extensive research experience across the Automotive, Financial Services, Healthcare, Converged Technology and Media, Restaurant, and Travel/Leisure sectors. From the strategic definition of consumer needs to effective marketing program implementation, PMI provides profit-driven market solutions and is committed to maximizing a client’s Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) by leveraging the ability to attract and retain new business through cost efficient data acquisition and statistical modeling techniques. Founded in 1999 by Chairman and CEO, Allen R. DeCotiis and President, Martha Rea, Phoenix Marketing International has established its global presence with offices in major locations such as New York, New Jersey, Boston, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, Detroit, and London.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kristin Johnson
Phoenix Marketing International
+1 845-876-8228 Ext: 308
Email >
Visit website