Diesel-fuel vehicles drop in popularity

The popularity of diesel-fuel vehicles has fallen slightly in recent years with 45 per cent of people surveyed in a Roy Morgan Research study saying they would seriously consider buying a diesel-fuel vehicle, down from 50 per cent two years ago when several foreign car makers were in the news for falsifying emissions on their vehicles – including diesel-fuel models.

The consideration of diesel-fuel vehicles trails the appeal of hybrid vehicles at 52 per cent of respondents considering their purchase, although it is still ahead of electric vehicles on 37 per cent and LPG vehicles on 21 per cent.

Analysing those that mostly drive diesel-fuel vehicles indicates that 1.13 million reside in capital cities and 1.10 million in country areas, although the differing populations between the two means country Australians are 36 per cent more likely to drive a diesel-fuel vehicle than the average Australian, equivalent to an index value of 136.

According to the research, nearly a third of Australia’s diesel-fuel vehicles are driven by either semi/unskilled workers (18.3 per cent) or skilled workers (14.4 per cent) with both over-represented as drivers, while a further 22.5 per cent are professionals/managers.

Although farmers represent less than two per cent of all diesel-fuel vehicle drivers, they are the most over-represented – with 185 per cent more likely to drive a diesel-fuel vehicle than the average Australian equivalent, to an index value of 285.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says diesel-fuel vehicles are most over-represented in the vehicle fleets in Australia’s two largest states by area: Western Australia and Queensland, although NSW as the largest state by population has more diesel-vehicle drivers in total – almost 650,000, according to the survey – than any other state.

“Analysing Australians who drive diesel-fuel vehicles by the psychographic segmentation tool Helix Personas shows that although the largest single Helix Persona for diesel-fuel vehicles is ‘leading lifestyles’, comprising 22.9 per cent of diesel-fuel drivers, over half of Australia’s diesel-fuel vehicles are driven by ‘battlers’ (19.3 per cent), ‘Today’s families’ (17 per cent) or ‘Golden Years’ (13.5 per cent) and all three of these Helix Personas are over-represented as diesel drivers,” she said.

Ms Levine adds that it is yet to be seen whether the latest scandal involving German manufacturers testing diesel exhaust on monkeys and consenting humans will have a negative impact on the sale of diesel-engine vehicles in Australia.

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