Money proves biggest motivator for a motorist's eco-driving choices

THORNHILL, ON, Nov. 26 /CNW/ - When it comes to fuel efficiency, saving money trumps saving the environment for most people who have recently bought - or are thinking of buying - a new vehicle.

That's one of the findings of a new survey conducted by CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) and Pollution Probe, a non-governmental environmental organization.

"We know how important saving money is in these tough economic times," said Anna Halkidis, program design manager for CAA SCO. "We want to show people that green driving behaviours make a positive impact not only on their wallets, but also on the environment."

The survey was conducted by Environics Research. About 800 Canadian drivers were interviewed who either purchased a new vehicle in the past 12 months or so, or were intending to purchase a new vehicle in the next year or so.

"This research shows that when making green choices, consumers are often more motivated by financial savings than environmental benefits," said Bob Oliver, executive director of Pollution Probe. "Fortunately, purchasing a fuel efficient vehicle can benefit the environment and make economic sense."

Automobiles are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, contributing 12 to 13 per cent to the nation's total GHG emissions. By choosing and driving more fuel-efficient automobiles GHG emissions can be reduced and their impact on the environment lessened.

Key findings:

    
    -  Engine and vehicle size are the factors believed to make the most
       difference in whether or not a vehicle is fuel efficient.
    -  When prompted, the majority of recent or prospective purchasers rate
       many vehicle attributes as very important, but reliability tops the
       list - fuel efficiency falls in the middle of the pack.
    -  Recent and prospective new vehicle buyers believe making manufacturers
       comply with fuel-efficiency standards would be the most effective way
       to get more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road.
    -  In terms of purchaser incentives, tax rebates and public education are
       seen to be most effective.
    

"We're encouraged that those surveyed think public education is an effective way to get people to purchase fuel-efficient vehicles," said Halkidis. "That's one reason we created Autogreen, our clean-air program."

Autogreen offers many different tools for motorists to become more eco-friendly, including re-refined engine oil, Green Power batteries, eco-inspections and an interactive, educational website. At the site, motorists can send an e-card to politicians letting them know they support eco-auto rebates.

    
    -  To see a complete copy of the survey's findings, visit http://www.pollutionprobe.org/Publications/PublicOpinionResearchFuelEfficient.pdf
    -  For more information on Autogreen, visit www.caasco.com/autogreen.
    -  For more information on Pollution Probe, visit www.pollutionprobe.org.
    

CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club offering insurance, travel, automotive care and roadside services. There are more than 1.8 million CAA members in South Central Ontario and 5 million members in Canada.

SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario

For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Jason Ballantyne, Manager, communications, CAA SCO, 60 Commerce Valley, Drive East, Thornhill, ON, L3T 7P9, jsb@caasco.ca, Office: (905) 771-4709, Cell: (416) 254-0641; Rebecca Spring, Senior Project Manager, Consumer Engagement & Market Transformation, Pollution Probe, 625 Church Street, Toronto, ON, M4Y 2G1, Office: (416) 926-1907


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