The simulations described in Chapter 5 suggest that the types of AFVs that might be needed to achieve the desired levels of petroleum and GHG reduction are those that initially will carry a large price premium because of their technology content. Once advanced vehicle technologies have become widely diffused, the vehicles in which they are incorporated will become much closer in cost to the advanced “conventional” vehicles that then would be available. In fact, the committee’s midrange case shows that both BEVs and FCEVs could cost less than advanced ICEVs by 2050. (See Figure 2.8 in Chapter 2.) In addition, the superior energy efficiency of those alternative vehicles would return more than enough benefit to consumers, in terms of reduced fuel consumption, to offset any cost premium that did exist. The trick will be to persuasively convey this information to consumers.

Accomplishing this is likely to require increased understanding of consumers’ attitudes about issues of sustainability, climate change, and environment and of how to motivate consumers in these arenas. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has recently recommended that the Department of Energy incorporate societal research in its programs to gain an understanding of how energy programs succeed in the market (PCAST, 2010).

Broadening such research to include a focus on understanding consumer attitudes, expectations, and past behaviors relative to alternative automotive and fuel choices as well as to other technologies introduced to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions would seem essential to successful achievement of the petroleum use and GHG reduction goals set out for the 2030 and 2050 time periods in the committee’s statement of task.


Anderson, Soren, R. Kellogg, and J.M. Sallee. 2011. What Do Consumers Believe About Future Gasoline Prices? NBER Working Paper 16974. Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research.

Automotive News. 2012. Leasing Boom? Not So Fast. March 7, 2012. Available at Accessed April 3, 2012.

Axsen, J. 2010. Interpersonal Influence within Car Buyers’ Social Networks: Observing Consumer Assessment of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and the Spread of Pro-Societal Values. Davis, Calif.: University of California, Davis.

Axsen, J., and K.S. Kurani. 2011. Interpersonal Influence Within Car Buyers’ Social Networks: Developing Pro-Societal Values Through Sustainable Mobility Policy. Available at

Beresteanu, A., and S. Li. 2011. Gasoline prices, government support, and the demand for hybrid vehicles in the U.S. International Economics Review 52(1):161-182.

Boston Consulting Group. 2011. Powering Autos to 2020: The Era of the Electric Car? Boston, Mass.: Boston Consulting Group.

Capgemini. 2010. Cars Online 10/11. Listening to the Voice of the Consumer. Capgemini. Available at

Caulfield, B., S. Farrell, and B. McMahon. 2010. Examining individuals’ preferences for hybrid electric and alternatively fuelled vehicles. Transport Policy 17(6):381-387.

Consumer Reports. 2011a. Survey: Cost Savings Are Driving Shoppers to Better Fuel Economy. Available at Accessed on May 30, 2011.

———. 2011b. Survey: Car Buyers Want Better Fuel Economy and Are Willing to Pay for It. Available at Accessed on August 12, 2011.

———. 2012. High Gas Price Motivate Drivers to Change Direction. May. Consumer Available at

Crain, K., 2011. If you build it, they will come. Automotive News 85(April 4):12.

Deloitte Development LLC. 2010. Gaining Traction. A Customer View of Electric Vehicle Mass Adoption in the U.S. Automotive Market. New York: Deloitte Global Services, Ltd. Available at

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. Global Manufacturing Industry Group. 2011. Unplugged: Electric Vehicle Realities Versus Consumer Expectations. New York: Deloitte Global Services Ltd. Available at

Diamond, D. 2008. Public Policies for Hybrid-Electric Vehicles: The Impact of Government Incentives on Consumer Adoption. Ph.D. Dissertation. Fairfax, Va.: George Mason University. Available at

Drury, I. 2011. Four-Cylinder Engines, Mpg on the Rise. Available at Accessed on March 23, 2012.

Egbue, O., and S. Long. 2012. Barriers to widespread adoption of electric vehicles: An analysis of consumer attitudes and perceptions. Energy Policy 48:717-729.

Ernst & Young. 2010. Gauging Interest for PHEVs and EVs in Select Markets.

Gallagher, K.S., and Erich Muehlegger. 2008. Giving Green to Get Green: Incentives and Consumer Adoption of Hybrid Vehicle Technology. Harvard Kennedy School Faculty Research Working Paper RWP08-009.

Greene, D.L. 1990. Fuel choice for multifuel vehicles. Contemporary Policy Issues VIII(4):118-137.

Greene, David L. 2010a. Why the Market for New Passenger Cars Generally Undervalues Fuel Economy. Discussion Paper 2010-6. International Transportation Forum, OECD, Paris. Available at Accessed May 23, 2012.

———. 2010b. How Consumers Value Fuel Economy: A Literature Review. EPA 40-R-10-008. Available at Accessed May 23, 2012.

Guo, J.Y., G. Venkataramanan, B. Lesieutre, A. Smick, M. Mallette, and C. Getter. 2010. Consumer Adoption and Grid Impact Models for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles in Dane County, Wisconsin. Part A: Consumer Adoption Models. Madison, Wisc.: Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

Harder, A. 2011. Obama Claims Connection Between Fuel Standards, Jobs, but Reality Is Complicated. Available at Accessed on August 12, 2011.

Harris Interactive. 2011. Auto TECHCAST Study. June.

Hensher, D.A.H.B. 2010. Hypothetical bias, stated choice experiments and willingness to pay. Transportation Research Part B 44(6):735-752.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement