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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Demand for Clean-Fuel Personal Vehicles in California: A Discrete-Choice Stated Preference Survey


A study was conducted to determine how demand for clean-fuel vehicles and their fuels is likely to vary as a function of attributes that distinguish these vehicles from conventional gasoline vehicles. For the purposes of the study, clean-fuel vehicles are defined to encompass both electric vehicles, and unspecified (methanol, ethanol, compressed natural gas or propane) liquid and gaseous fuel vehicles, in both de or multiple-fuel versions. The attributes include vehicle purchase price, fuel operating cost, vehicle range between refueling, availability of fuel, dedicated versus multiple-fuel capability, and the level of reduction in emissions (compared to current vehicles). In a mail-back stated preference survey, approximately 700 respondents in the California South Coast Air Basin gave their choices among sets of hypothetical future vehicles, as well as their choices between alternative fuel versus gasoline for hypothetical multiple-fuel vehicles. Estimates of attribute importance and segment differences are made using discrete-choice nested multinomial logit models for vehicle choice, and binomial logit models for fuel choice. These estimates can be used to modify present vehicle-type choice and utilization models to accommodate clean-fuel vehicles; they can also be used to evaluate scenarios for alternative clean-fuel vehicle and fuel supply configurations. Results indicate that range between refueling is an important attribute, particularly if range for an alternative fuel is substantially less than that for gasoline. For fuel choice, the most important attribute is fuel cost, but the predicted probability of choosing alternative fuel is also affected by emissions levels, which can compensate for differences in fuel prices.

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