Effects of providing total cost of ownership information on consumers' intent to purchase a hybrid or plug-in electric vehicle

Jerome Dumortier, Saba Siddiki, Sanya Carley, Joshua Cisney, Rachel M. Krause, Bradley W. Lane, John A. Rupp, John D. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


Energy-saving technologies have a difficult time being widely accepted in the marketplace when they have a high initial purchase price and deferred financial benefits. Consumers might not realize that, in the long-run, the financial benefits from reduced energy consumption offset much or all of the initial price premium. One strategy to address consumer misconception of this advantage is to supply information on the "total cost of ownership", a metric which accounts for the purchase price, the cost of the fuel, and other costs over the ownership period. In this article, we investigate how providing information on five-year fuel cost savings and total cost of ownership affects the stated preferences of consumers to purchase a gasoline, conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or battery electric vehicle. Through an online survey with an embedded experimental design using distinct labels, we find that respondent rankings of vehicles are unaffected by information on five-year fuel cost savings. However, adding information about total cost of ownership increases the probability that small/mid-sized car consumers express a preference to acquire a conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or a battery-electric vehicle. No such effect is found for consumers of small sport utility vehicles. Our results are consistent with other findings in the behavioral economics literature and suggest that further evaluation of the effects of providing consumers with information on the total cost of vehicle ownership is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-86
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Battery electric vehicles
  • Label information
  • Life cycle cost
  • Rank-ordered logit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Transportation
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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