1983-02-01

Impact of Consumer and Manufacturer Decisions on New Car Fuel Economy 830545

The 90 percent improvement in new car fuel economy between 1973 and 1982 has resulted from many types of new car purchase and new car manufacture decisions. Some of these decisions, such as purchasing a smaller car, buying a car with less performance, choosing a manual transmission, and selecting a diesel engine can be viewed as primarily new car consumer decisions. Over the decade where the price of gasoline tripled, consumer decisions accounted for about a third of the MPG increase. With the prospect of stable or declining gasoline prices for the near future, consumers may take back some of their past contributions to new car fuel economy.
If new car buyers returned to their 1978 choices in auto characteristics the MPG would have been 9.3 percent lower than it actually was recorded in model year 1982. If consumers returned to the 1973 auto characteristics, a 17.4 percent reduction in MPG would have resulted in model year 1982.

SAE MOBILUS

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