Consumer Reports conducted a qualitative study from January 30-31, 2023 to learn more about the experiences of owners of vehicles that run on low carbon fuels (LCFs). The study focused on vehicles that run on the following low-carbon fuels: ethanol, biodiesel, and hydrogen.
The study found that most owners believe their LCF vehicles are better for the environment than vehicles that run on conventional diesel or gasoline, but familiarity with the fuel technology varies. Some participants chose their vehicles specifically with environmental protection in mind, while others chose their vehicles for other reasons and view environmental protection as a nice benefit.
Below are the key findings:
- Drivers of LCF vehicles generally have good impressions of the fuel technology, and many appreciate the environmental benefits that LCFs provide, though that is rarely their primary reason for choosing their vehicle.
- Many participants expressed positive reactions to available incentives for the purchase of their LCF vehicles, which particularly benefit drivers of hydrogen-fueled vehicles.
- Dealers and auto repair shops should play a critical role in educating consumers about LCFs and their LCF vehicle options.
- Many owners said they would recommend LCF vehicles to a friend or a family member, but urged others to take logistics into account when making their considerations.
- Many owners emphasized the need for prospective owners to conduct their own research of the fuel technologies, and research on whether or where the LCFs might be available to them.
- When asked about the future of LCFs, many consider LCF vehicles as an intermediate step toward an even more environmentally-friendly future. They anticipate their next vehicle being fully electric, or the vehicle landscape in the US gradually shifting to predominantly electric.
The study of 31 adults residing in the U.S. was conducted by an online discussion board through the Schlesinger Group (now Sago).