Would you take a Prius over a Porsche? An Escape over an Escalade? Global research firm Synovate asked more than 13,500 people in 18 global markets if–given that money is not an object–they would purchase a “dream” car or a “green” car. Six of 10 people said they would take the green car. But the deciding factors tended to be more economical than ecological.
Across the board, if money was no object, 37% of those surveyed said a green car would be preferable to a dream car, while 22% claimed their dream car is a green car. Just 30% said they would take a gas-guzzling dream car over a more eco-friendly one. But those pushing for green cars didn’t come from lands of climate change bills or EU energy summits. Thailand (77%), Korea (76%), China (75%) and Brazil (72%) showed some of the strongest support for green automobiles, while only 42% of U.S. respondents took the green option (though only 35% said they would buy the dream car).
Incidentally, China offers economic incentives for manufacturers of green vehicles and the citizens who buy them, and Brazil gives buyers of eco-friendly cars a break as well. For Koreans, the government doesn’t even have to offer a tax break. According to Synovate, Koreans see eco-friendly cars as more fuel-efficient, and the cost savings of driving a car that burns less fuel is incentive enough.
The dreamers, predictably enough, come from places where an aspirational, upwardly mobile middle class is emerging. Over half of South African respondents would take the dream car, as would almost half of Indians.
The data shows environmental concerns play a role in consumer decisions, but economic concerns still trump, suggesting tax incentives for manufacturers and consumers of green cars can pay ecological dividends. But perhaps more importantly, the survey indicates the global collective consciousness is attuned to the challenges ahead and warming to ecologically responsible lifestyle choices. That’s a global warming we can all get behind.