Publication Detail

Application of a Behavioral Market Segmentation Theory to New Transportation Fuels in New Zealand


Research Report

Suggested Citation:
Kurani, Kenneth S. (1992) Application of a Behavioral Market Segmentation Theory to New Transportation Fuels in New Zealand. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-92-05

This paper seeks answers to questions about consumer acceptance of, and the growth and decline of markets for, gaseous fuels conversions of gasoline cars, vans, and light-duty trucks. In particular, I wish to explain why many consumers in New Zealand converted to CNG or LPG in the early 1980s, and why the market for conversions failed to continue to grow, or even maintain itself, in the latter half of that decade. Beyond these immediate explanations of the market in New Zealand, I will make inferences about the possible consumer reaction to new transportation fuels in California and the United States.

This research searches for answers to the question of how to get from our existing retail gasoline and diesel refueling network to one which provides consumers with convenient access to new transportation fuels. This work is necessary for several reasons. First, consumers response to the availability of a new transportation fuel and their perceptions of availability, are important factors in their acceptance of new fuels. Fuel availability is an indicator not only of convenience, but also of consumer confidence in government and industry commitment to the new fuel. Second, despite explicit reliance on the existing gasoline/diesel retail network, the magnitude of the change required, as demonstrated by DOE's analysis, implies that system wide changes in how fuel is distributed are likely. Improved information on retail site selection will assist in planning and implementing these system wide changes. Third, the statutory requirement to meet ambient air quality standards and the increasing number of States and air quality districts planning on alternative fuels to meet those standards requires that these fuels be implemented successfully. That is, in the long run, the market share of one or several of the new fuels must grow to a level where they displace an appreciable amount of gasoline and diesel. Nationally, the ultimate level of petroleum fuels displacement required to attain air quality goals may well be in excess of the 1 million barrel per day scenario in DOE's analysis.

The following chapter explains the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of this analysis. Included is a review of prior market research done on CNG and LPG consumers. The specific hypotheses to be tested, based on this section and the historical review, are presented. Chapter 3 reviews pertinent political, energy, and transportation events and trends in New Zealand. The fourth chapter describes the data collected during 1988 and its connection to the previous market studies. The fifth chapter presents the analytical results. Chapters six and seven contain the substantive dicussion of the analysis of the market for new-fueled vehicles in New Zealand and the role of fuel availability in the choice of new fuels. Chapter 6 analyzes consumer decision making in detail and tests the hypotheses developed in Chapters 2 and 3. Chapter 7 looks at the role of fuel availability specifically. Chapter 8 contains a review and synthesis of the discussion and conclusions regarding the implications of consumers' experience with new fuels New Zealand on the market for new transportation fuels in the US.
Ph.D. Dissertation.