Sticky emanate with numbers fuels gas mileage confusion

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Is a new window plaque directed during clarifying a car’s fuel potency carrying unintended effects?

New investigate from University of Michigan researchers Anocha Aribarg and Katherine Burson suggests that a informed “Monroney sticker” on new cars could be causing some confusion.


“The emanate is how a scale is presented to people and how they appreciate that,” pronounced Burson, associate highbrow of selling during U-M’s Ross School of Business. “There are opposite ways to demonstrate it, and a apparent choice competence not always be a optimal one if you’re perplexing to inspire people to buy some-more fuel-efficient vehicles.”

The longstanding miles per gallon rating is informed yet widely misinterpreted. Because it’s not a linear scale, people tend to blink a fuel potency advantages on guzzlers like SUVs and overreach them on smaller, fuel-sipping cars. For example, a potency benefit between 10 mpg and 15 mpg is most incomparable than between 40 mpg and 45 mpg.

To fight that, regulators combined a new scale to a sticker—gallons per 100 miles—in Jan 2014. This is a linear scale and gives a consumer another approach to appreciate a same information.

Aribarg and Burson’s study, “Tipping a Scale: The Role of Discriminability in Fuel Efficient Choices,” co-written with Richard Larrick of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, shows how consumers appreciate a new information.

The authors ran experiments display how some-more than 2,100 consumers done choices in shopping an SUV.

When a miles per gallon magnitude was emphasized, people customarily chose a some-more fuel-efficient vehicle. But when a gallons-per-100-miles scale was emphasized, people chose a reduction fuel fit vehicle.

The problem appears to be a distance of a numbers. A miles-per-gallon scale of 27 vs. 20 looks like a some-more apparent alleviation than 3.7 gallons per 100 miles vs. 4.8.

“The disproportion looks smaller with a gallons-per-100-miles scale, even yet it’s a accurate same information,” pronounced Aribarg, associate highbrow of marketing. “So it has this unintended, impolite effect. People stop chasing a fuel-efficient car.”

In another experiment, Aribarg and Burson tweaked a scale to gallons per 10,000 miles, a series that approximates miles driven in a year.

The incomparable numbers seemed to have an effect—consumers done some-more fuel-efficient choices when gallons per 10,000 miles was emphasized.

The researchers advise changing a Monroney plaque to simulate gallons per 10,000 miles, or stealing miles per gallon so it doesn’t dwarf a gallons per 100 miles numbers.

“What we don’t wish is for companies to change their plan since consumers are misinterpreting a tag and creation it seem they don’t caring about fuel efficiency,” Burson said. “We used a conjoint research since it shows how people make choices, not what they self-report. We know we can get them to make some-more fuel-efficient choices formed on how numbers are scaled.”

Source: University of Michigan