ATLANTA, April 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Almost two-thirds – 62% – of auto shoppers surveyed in March and April on AutoTrader.com indicated they would consider a more fuel efficient vehicle for their next car in the face of gas prices that continue to rise. Industry reports note that the average retail price for all grades of gasoline in the United States rose past $3.80 per gallon this month, with some markets seeing prices above $4 per gallon.
AutoTrader.com conducted the survey of visitors to the site between March 14 and April 4. A similar survey conducted during January and February found that 53% percent of car shoppers were considering more fuel efficient vehicles. This increase in just a few weeks and other data from the March-April survey indicate more Americans may be ready to change car buying and other driving and lifestyle habits as a result of rising gas prices.
In the most recent March-April survey, 49% of respondents indicated that they would be cutting back on eating out and 46% of respondents indicated that they would be cutting back on summer vacation plans as a result of higher fuel prices (these questions were not posed in the January-February survey).
According to the findings however, the traditional U.S. solo commute to work doesn't seem to be at risk yet, with only 9% of respondents indicating that they would consider looking for car pool opportunities and only 3% of respondents indicating they would take public transportation more often. A majority of survey respondents – 67% – did indicate that they would combine trips to complete as many errands as possible in fewer trips in an effort to use less gasoline.
The survey data related to car shoppers' vehicle consideration set is backed up by other data from AutoTrader.com's March Trend Engine report (click here for the full report). That report, which highlights car shopping activity on AutoTrader.com each month, showed several fuel-efficient vehicles gaining in popularity. On AutoTrader.com's top-searched new-car list, fuel efficient models like the Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra made gains in popularity. On the company's top-searched used-car list, fuel efficient models like the Toyota Camry, the Honda Civic and the Nissan Altima also saw increased popularity.
Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com, created in 1997, is the Internet's ultimate automotive marketplace and consumer information website. AutoTrader.com aggregates in a single location millions of new cars, used cars and certified pre-owned cars from thousands of auto dealers and private sellers and is a leading online resource for auto dealers, individuals and manufacturers to advertise and market their vehicles to in-market shoppers. The company also provides a robust suite of software tools for dealers and manufacturers to help them manage and market their vehicle inventory and display advertising on the Internet. AutoTrader.com continues to grow key business metrics, including revenue, profitability and site traffic. Today, AutoTrader.com attracts more than 15 million unique monthly visitors who utilize the site to review descriptions, photos and videos of vehicles for sale; research and compare vehicles; review pricing and specials; and read auto-related content like buying and selling tips and editorial coverage of major auto shows and automotive trends. AutoTrader.com operates two other auto marketing brands, AutoTraderClassics.com and AutoTraderLatino.com. AutoTrader.com also owns used vehicle management software company vAuto, Kelley Blue Book (Kbb.com) and HomeNet Automotive, a leading provider of online inventory management and merchandising solutions for the automotive retail industry. AutoTrader.com is a majority-owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. Providence Equity Partners is a 25 percent owner of the company and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is also an investor. For more information, please visit www.autotrader.com.