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Northwest residents want more fuel-efficient vehicles, but aren't ready to commit yet

Wednesday, April 14, 2021by  PEMCO Insurance

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While gas-powered vehicles still dominate the roadways, Northwest drivers are shifting their thinking about fuel alternatives. According to a new poll from PEMCO Mutual Insurance, more than two-thirds of Northwest residents say they'd consider a hybrid or electric vehicle the next time they're in the market for a new car. That's a big jump given that the poll also reveals that less than 1 in 10 respondents currently own an electric or hybrid car.

PEMCO's survey of Seattle- and Portland-area drivers found that, despite most drivers' current preference for a gas-only rig, as many as 76% of Seattleites and 65% of Portlanders say they're at least somewhat likely to consider purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle as their next car.

That's especially true for men, who are both more likely to own a more sustainable car now, and who are more likely than their female counterparts to lean toward buying a hybrid or electric car in the future. Male drivers in the Seattle metro area are about 12% more likely than women to pick a vehicle powered by alternative fuel and they're about 20% more likely in the Portland metro area.

"There are many reasons for making a switch to a more fuel-efficient vehicle, and we were encouraged to see that most Northwest drivers are motivated by the benefits hybrid and electric cars offer to the environment," said PEMCO spokesperson Derek Wing. "Climate change continues to be prevalent issue in our world today, and it's clear Northwest residents have taken notice."

When drivers were asked about the most significant motivator for purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle next, drivers in both cities cite the opportunity to reduce pollutants and carbon emissions. About half (53%) in Seattle said this was the biggest contributor for making the change to a more sustainable vehicle, and 55% said the same in the Portland metro area.

Interestingly, the poll also finds that while men say they're more likely to switch to a vehicle powered by alternative fuel, women seem to be more invested in the potential environmental benefits. Nearly two-thirds of female respondents (62%) say they'd be primarily motivated by going green while less than half of male respondents (45%) shared the same attitude toward reducing pollutants and carbon emissions.

Some respondents, however, are more motivated by the potential positive impact to their wallet – especially in Seattle where drivers are almost ten times more likely than Portland drivers to be motivated by financial savings of a more fuel-efficient car. In fact, 27% of Seattle residents cited saving money on fuel as the biggest factor in choosing an electric-powered or hybrid car compared to only 3% in Portland.

While many drivers say they'll choose an electric or hybrid vehicle for their next car, there are many that aren't quite ready to consider this change – 19% in Seattle and 29% in Portland say they aren't likely to buy a more efficient vehicle. Of them, more than one-quarter claim there's nothing that would entice them to reconsider. Other reluctant drivers say that electric cars need to have an improved design, go farther on a single charge, cost less or have more charging stations available for charging vehicles.

For a complete summary of PEMCO's proprietary poll results visit, where you'll find responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in February 2021.


About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll

PEMCO Mutual Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 400 respondents in the Seattle Metro (King, Snohomish, Pierce Counties) region and 400 respondents in the Portland Metro (Multnomah, Marion, Clackamas, Washington Counties) region yields an accuracy of +/- 5.0% respectively at the 95% confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range. 

About PEMCO Mutual Insurance

PEMCO Mutual Insurance is the Defender of Your Northwest, providing auto, home, renters and boat coverage. We are consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee expertise and social impact. Our Mutual Good programs raise the achievement levels for youth in education; build stronger, greener environments; and increase safety at home, on the road and at play. Our mission: Free our communities to worry less and live more. 

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Comments on this post

personMV06/11/2021 09:07 AM
I completely agree with everything in the above post. We now own 2 electric vehicles and haven't looked back once. Talk with an EV owner about their experience, test drive one and see for yourself.
personRT04/20/2021 09:59 AM
I visited an electric car show in 2017 . . . it was people with electric cars showing and telling about their vehicles and experiences (not manufacturers or dealers). The facts, figures, and enthusiasm pushed me to seriously consider electric.   We've now owned an all electric car for 3 1/2 years.  Not only are they a great environmental decision, they're simply better vehicles.  No gas, no oil, fewer moving parts to wear out. The closest thing to "maintenance" needed is rotating tires. Try one and you'll see!

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