In a survey of 8,400 U.S. adults conducted by Statista over the last year, 56% of respondents ranked fuel efficiency as the most important factor in purchasing a vehicle.
Fuel efficiency narrowly outpaced safety, which 55% of respondents ranked as the most important. The change represents a switch in ranking between the two factors since the survey was last conducted in 2018.
Consumers are likely responding to soaring gas prices, which, according to AAA, rose to a record $5.016 on July 14. Comparatively, the average gas price in June of 2021 was just above $3.
The price of the car came in third on the survey, with 46% of survey-takers marking it as the most important factor in making their car purchase.
At 43%, suitability for everyday use and quality tied as the next most important factors, with driving comfort (39%), warranty and customer service (38%), and design (32%) rounding out the list.
It will be interesting to monitor how consumers evolve to the changing landscape of purchasing a vehicle.
Republican lawmakers have urged President Joe Biden to do more to address the issue.