Are Alternative Fuels About To Go Mainstream?

Latest data from leading vehicle auctions company, British Car Auctions reveal higher fuel prices and the effects of the economic downturn are continuing to boost interest in alternative fuels. Alongside news that motorists are driving less, car sharing and even down-sizing due to the rising cost of living, new data from BCA shows that average values for eco- and alternative fuelled cars continue to outperform the rest of the market.

BCA’s Tim Naylor commented "The key issue for ‘green’, alternative fuelled cars is acceptability with motorists, because they will drive the demand in the used market. It would appear demand is continuing to rise because average values for hybrid/electric and LPG powered cars are well ahead of market expectations, with the few examples BCA handle always attracting a flurry of bidding.”

Values from the latest BCA’s Pulse report for September show that the small number of alternative fuelled vehicles entered for sale by fleet operators are averaging up to 122% of guide price. In comparison, the average fleet values for petrol and diesel are currently around 92% of CAP Clean.

Demand is actually increasing for hybrid electric/petrol cars such as the Honda Civic and Toyota Prius and volumes sold at BCA have overtaken those of petrol/LPG cars – although numbers remain small. Naylor explained “The hybrid electric/petrol models are definitely the flavour of the moment, because there are no issues over fuel availability. Motorists have already seen a variety of alternative fuels heralded as the answer to global warming and are understandably wary of making the ‘wrong’ choice in terms of support and infrastructure – after all, just where do you go to get LPG these days?”

Naylor added “Last year BCA suggested there needed to be a sea-change in public opinion before any kind of ‘alternative’ fuels became acceptable and it took the very high pump prices earlier this year and on-going economic woes to really kick-start the interest with private buyers. Our 2008 Used Car Market Report looked at a number of these issues in tandem and confirmed that price is the leading motivator for change.”

6 November 2008 Staff

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