February 28, 2014

Understanding Household Preferences for Alternative Fuel Vehicle Technologies

Time

1:40 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Location

1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village

Speaker(s)

Hilary Nixon, Associate Professor, Associate Chair and Graduate Adviser, Department of Urban & Regional Planning, San Jose State University

Abstract

This presentation is based on research conducted by Dr. Hilary Nixon (SJSU)and Dr. Jean-Daniel Saphores (UCI) and published by the Mineta Transportation Institute. It explores consumer preferences among four different alternative-fuel vehicles (AFVs): hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) vehicles, and electric vehicles (EVs). Although researchers have been interested in understanding consumer preferences for AFVs for more than three decades, it is important to update our estimates of the trade-offs people are willing to make between cost, environmental performance, vehicle range, and refueling convenience. We conducted a nationwide, Internet-based survey to assess consumer preferences for AFVs. Respondents participated in a stated-preference ranking exercise in which they ranked a series of five vehicles (four AFVs and a traditional gasoline-fueled vehicle) that differ primarily in fuel type, price, environmental performance, vehicle range, and refueling convenience. Our findings indicate that, in general, gasoline-fueled vehicles are still preferred over AFVs, however there is a strong interest in AFVs. No AFV type is overwhelmingly preferred, although HEVs seem to have an edge. Using a panel rank-ordered mixed logit model, we assessed the trade-offs people make between key AFV characteristics. We found that, in order to leave a person’s utility unchanged, a $1,000 increase in AFV cost needs to be compensated by either: (1) a $300 savings in driving cost over 12,000 miles; (2) a 17.5 mile increase in vehicle range; or (3) a 7.8-minute decrease in total refueling time (e.g. finding a gas station and refueling).

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Hilary Nixon is an associate professor and associate chair in the Department of Urban & Regional Planning at San José State University. She specializes in environmental planning and policy, and also teaches courses on the history and theory of urban planning and policy analysis. Her research interests include household hazardous waste management, particularly electronic waste recycling, and the factors that influence pro-environmental behaviors. In addition, she serves as a Research Associate with the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) where her work focuses primarily on the relationship between transportation and the environment. In 2009, Dr. Nixon was recognized as “Advisor of the Year” by SJSU’s Student Involvement. Dr. Nixon and her students have also received awards from the California Chapter of the American Planning Association for academic excellence.

Recently published MTI reports include: What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Public Transit, Highways, and Local Streets and Road? Results from Year 4 of a National Survey (2013); Low-Stress Bicycling and Network Connectivity (2012); What Do Americans Think About Federal Tax Options to Support Public Transit, Highways, and Local Streets and Road? Results from Year 3 of a National Survey (2012); An Examination of Women’s Representation and Participation in Bicycle Advisory Committees in California (2012); Low Stress Bicycling and Network Connectivity (2012); What Do Americans Think About Federal Transportation Tax Options? Results From Year 2 of a National Survey (2011); Understanding Preferences for Alternative-Fuel Vehicle Technologies (2011); What Do Americans Think About Federal Transportation Tax Options? Results From a National Survey (2010); Linking Highway Improvements to Changes in Land Use with Quasi-Experimental Research Design: A Better Forecasting Tool for Transportation Decision-Making (2009); and “Green” Transportation Taxes and Fees: A Survey of Californians (2009). Copies of these, and other MTI Research Reports can be found at: http://transweb.sjsu.edu/MTIportal/research/Publications.html.

Her research has also been published in the following journals: Environment & Behavior; Environmental Modeling & Assessment; Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development; Journal of Environmental Management; Journal of Environmental Planning and Management; Journal of Sustainability Education; Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice; Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment.