Turrentine, Thomas S. and Daniel Sperling (1989) A Decision Process Model for Analyzing Consumer Purchases of Alternative-Fueled Vehicles: The Case of CNG Vehicle Conversions in British Columbia. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RP-89-01
This paper proposes a model to explain and predict consumer purchases of alternative fuels and vehicles. The model is adapted from a decision process model used in market research (Engel et al 1978). It incorporates the concepts of risk and uncertainty, attitude and elimination by aspect (Tversky 1971). The model addresses decisions made by individuals in the context of a social process.
The specific consumer choice analyzed was the decision to retrofit a conventional gasoline vehicle to operate on both CNG and gasoline (manufactered dual-fuel CNG/gasoline and single fueled CNG vehicles are not yet available).
The stength of the proposed model is explaining the steps through which a gasoline auto owner becomes a routine user of CNG fuel. At each step, the model examines the attitudes of consumers and the attributes of fueling systems as perceived by consumers (Fennel 1980) in the context of their social environment.
This model allows us to explore the following hypotheses about the CNG market in British Columbia.
- Most users of natural gas systems are still evaluating their purchase. Therefore, the purchase of a conversion kit does not indicate the buyer is a confirmed CNG user.
- The percentage of confirmed CNG users could be increased dramatically by more government and industry committment to CNG and continued expansion of the refuelling systems.
- The lack of information and organized institutional support for the conversion of vehicles to CNG blocks consumers with low levels of technical knowledge from switching fuels even though the savings may be substantial.
- Technical knowledge is used by consumers to reduce risk, but this knowledge does not explain who is attracted to this option. CNG users are primarily motivated by fuel cost savings, not by other attributes of the alternative fuel technology.