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Mental Maps and the Refueling Behavior of Vehicle Drivers

UCD-ITS-RP-86-02

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Suggested Citation:
Dingemans, Dennis J., Daniel Sperling, Ryuichi Kitamura (1986) Mental Maps and the Refueling Behavior of Vehicle Drivers. Transportation Research Record (1092), 1 - 10

The spatial and temporal characteristics of refueling behavior are examined using survey data obtained from interviews with 309 local residents purchasing gasoline In Davis, California. Mental maps of roughly similar detail and accuracy are shown to be possessed by the major demographic and socioeconomic subgroups of the population studied. Most drivers could correctly identify only a small share of the least and most expensive gas outlets or diesel fuel options available to them. Stations at highly visible freeway exit locations were identified no more frequently than were stations in downtown or neighborhood locations. Expressed attitudes favored economically rational decisions in choices concerning trade-offs between extra travel and lower prices. This study has applicability for the design of a parsimonious network of subsidized refueling stations for alternative fuels such as alcohols, natural gas, or hydrogen.