Canadians willing to pay more for green vehicles

Canadians are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly cars if it helps reduce pollution levels, according to a survey sponsored by Ernst & Young and Maritz Automotive Research Group.


The survey showed that more than 40 per cent of Canadians would expect to pay more for greener vehicles and of that number 42 per cent would be willing to pay $2,000 dollars more. While 11 per cent said they would be willing to pay $5,000 more, most put themselves into either the $500, $200, $50 or $0 category.

The study also indicates that when it comes to buying a new car or truck, Canadians are quite concerned about the environment, with more than 80 percent of respondents indicating that it was at least “somewhat important.” More than half of those indicated that it was “very important” or “extremely important.”

The study asked more than 2,000 people across Canada to indicate whether the environment was an issue for them in their new vehicle purchase decision – and if so, which aspects of the environment – and finally, whether Canadians would be willing to pay more for ‘greener’ cars and trucks. They were asked specifically to rank four key environmental issue pertaining to the automotive industry:

  • the amount of emissions that contribute to smog
  • the amount of greenhouse gases thought to be connected with global warming
  • the amount of recycled material that is used in making a new vehicle
  • the amount of material in a new vehicle that can be used again or recycled once it is disposed of.

Overall, 75 per cent of respondents were concerned with emissions. 45 per cent cited emissions of smog-creating exhaust and 30 per cent indicating that the emission of greenhouse gases thought to be connected with global warming was most important.

In total, 24 per cent cited recycling-related issues as their primary concern. More specifically, 13 per cent were concerned with the amount of recycled material that is used in making a new vehicle and only 11 per cent were concerned with the amount of material in a new vehicle that can be used again or recycled once it is disposed of.

“If I were either a parts producer or a vehicle manufacturer,” says Charlie Reid, National Director of Ernst & Young’s Auto Industry Practice, “I think I’d be steering my discretionary research money more towards the emission side of things. That’s where the consumer concern is.”

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