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Green Driving: It’s What’s Inside That Counts

National Survey Finds the Quest for Fuel Efficiency Is Changing Americans’ Car Consciousness

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DETROIT — With rising gas prices, today’s car buyers admit
fuel efficiency and diversity is not just a necessity, it’s also fashion
forward.

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If Americans had to choose between driving a car that was beautiful
on the outside vs. one that was “greener” on the inside, nearly eight in 10
Americans (79 percent) who plan to buy or lease a car within the next two
years would choose the greener car.

These and more compelling statistics are a result of a national survey recently conducted by Challenge X – a nationalcollegiate engineering competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and General Motors (GM).

The survey also revealed more than one in three Americans (36 percent) who
are on the fence about buying a hybrid vehicle say the tipping point to
seriously consider the purchase would be if gas prices rose to $4 a gallon.

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Nearly three in four car buyers (73 percent) say the rising cost of
traditional fuel would influence their decision to buy a hybrid vehicle as
their next purchase.

Here are some additional Challenge X survey insights on how fuel efficiency
is changing Americans’ car consciousness :

• Fuel- efficient — The new chick magnet? Close to nine in 10 women (88
percent) say they’d rather chat up someone with the latest fuel-efficient
car versus the latest sports car.
• How to win friends and influence people. Eighty percent of American car
buyers would find someone with the latest model fuel-efficient car more
interesting to talk to at a party than someone with the latest model sports
car.
• Not green? That’s a fashion don’t. More than four out of 10 (45 percent)
18-43 year-olds say it’s a fashion faux-pas nowadays to have a car that is
not green or environmentally friendly.
• Project roadway. More than seven in 10 (73 percent) car buyers say if there
were a reality TV show like “Project Runway” that was not about fashion
design, but instead about designing the best-looking fuel-efficient and
emissions-free car, they’d definitely watch.
• Aside from the fact that it’s hip to be green, 86 percent of American car
buyers say that when it comes to innovation in fuel-efficient cars, our
country has some catching up to do. An overwhelming 97 percent also agree
that a nation’s commitment to innovate should include encouraging the spirit
of innovation in young people because they bring a fresh perspective.

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About Challenge X
Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility highlights innovative ways
young people are working to improve our world by developing alternative
energy solutions through a real-world engineering competition.
 
Student teams from 17 universities throughout North America are tasked with
re-engineering a Chevrolet Equinox with alternative propulsion systems to
reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions, while retaining the
vehicle’s performance and consumer appeal.  The vehicles range from hybrid
electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cells and run on ethanol, biodiesel,
hydrogen or electricity.

“The Challenge X competition is a great way for General Motors to be
directly involved with student engineers, working on sustainable mobility,
as they gain real-world experience on arguably the hottest topic facing the
auto industry today,” said Micky Bly, GM director of Hybrid Vehicle
Integration and Controls.

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“This competition focuses on advanced technology that promotes energy
security and economic growth,” said Ed Wall, manager of the Vehicle
Technologies Program, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at
the U.S. Department of Energy. “Challenge X demonstrates how government,
industry and academia are working together to develop creative approaches
and solutions to decrease energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in
America’s vehicles.”

The competition began in 2004 and concludes in mid-May 2008 with a road
rally from New York City to Washington, D.C. Additional information about
the Challenge X program is available at http://www. challengex.org and
photography is available at http://www.digitalrailroad.net/challengex

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Methodological Notes:
The Challenge X Survey was conducted from February 20-28, 2008 by Kelton
Research
. In total, 500 interviews were fielded online. During fieldwork,
quotes were set to ensure a reliable and accurate read that was
representative of U.S. consumers, ages 18 or older, who plan to purchase or
lease a car in the next two years.

The results of any opinion survey are subject to variation – in the form of
a margin of error. The overall margin of error for this study is +/-4.4
percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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