Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2014

Department 1

Environmental Studies


Successfully marketing new, clean, car technologies to consumers requires an advertising strategy that fits consumers’ priorities and attitudes towards cars. We created a survey to study how attitudes towards cars are associated with demographics and environmental views. Our study examined car preferences and environmental concerns of a sample of Gettysburg College students in comparison to a national sample obtained from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Overall, we concluded that environmental beliefs are a significantly better prediction of car behaviors than demographics. We found that on average people would pay more for a car with a higher fuel economy, but not enough to cover the higher price of newer, cleaner technologies, such as hybrid cars. Gettysburg College students’ environmental concern scores were significantly higher on average than that of the general American population. Survey respondents from both samples supported devoting more research and resources to hybrid, electric, and biofuel technologies. However, in regards to their personal purchases they ranked safety and other qualities of the car as higher priorities than greenhouse gas emissions or fuel economy. According to our results, marketing electric cars as safe and reliable is a better strategy than marketing their high fuel economy.


Environmental Studies Thesis