Advertisement

Energy Efficiency

, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 891–901 | Cite as

Framing car fuel efficiency: linearity heuristic for fuel consumption and fuel-efficiency ratings

  • T. M. Schouten
  • J. W. Bolderdijk
  • L. StegEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

People are sensitive to the way information on fuel efficiency is conveyed. When the fuel efficiency of cars is framed in terms of fuel per distance (FPD; e.g. l/100 km), instead of distance per units of fuel (DPF; e.g. km/l), people have a more accurate perception of potential fuel savings. People tend to treat both DPF and FPD as linearly related to fuel consumption, while the relationship between DPF and fuel consumption is in fact curvilinear. We examined whether these incorrect assessments would also affect hypothetical car purchase choices in situations where cars also differ in relevant aspects other than fuel efficiency. Three experimental studies suggest that participants consistently employed a linearity heuristic, resulting in less optimal car choices in a DPF than in a FPD frame, and that this linearity heuristic for fuel efficiency with fuel consumption persists in the face of variations of important characteristics unrelated to fuel efficiency.

Keywords

Car fuel efficiency Fuel consumption Car purchase decisions 

References

  1. 1.
    Byun, D.H.: The AHP approach for selecting an automobile purchase model. Information Management 38, 289–297 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    De Bock, D., Van Dooren, W., Janssens, D., Verschaffel, L.: Improper use of linear reasoning: an in-depth study of the nature and the irresistibility of secondary school students’ errors. Educational Studies in Mathematics 50, 311–334 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kahneman, D.: Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux (2011)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Larrick, R. P., Soll, J. B.: The MPG illusion. Science 320, 1593–1594 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Mogridge, M.: The effect of the oil crisis on the growth in the ownership and use of cars. Transportation 7, 45–67 (1978)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Neumann, I., Cocron, P., Franke, T., Krems, J. F.: Electric vehicles as a solution for green driving in the future? a field study examining the user acceptance of electric vehicles. In Proceedings of the European conference on human centred design for intelligent transport systems (pp. 445–453) (2010)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Poortinga, W., Steg, L., Vlek, C., Wiersma, G.: Household preferences for energy-saving measures: a conjoint analysis. Journal of Economic Psychology 24, 49–64 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Preacher, K. J., Hayes, A. F.: Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods 40, 879–891 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Steg, L.: Can public transport compete with the private car. IATSS Research 27, 27 (2003)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Tversky, A., Kahneman, D.: The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice. Science 211, 453–458 (1981)CrossRefzbMATHMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Vlahović-Štetić, V., Pavlin-Bernardic, N., Rajter, M.: Illusion of linearity in geometry: effect in multiple-choice problems. Mathematical Thinking and Learning 12, 54–67 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFaculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of GroningenGroningenNetherlands

Personalised recommendations