Studies in Consumers and Automotive Fuel Economy: A Qualitative Field Test of the Effects of Driver Feedback on Automotive Fuel Consumption

Rising gasoline prices, greenhouse gas emissions, and war in oil-producing regions motivate research on the contribution that energy use feedback to drivers could make to reduce petroleum consumption. The research proposed here examines effects of energy use feedback on household drivers of conventional light-duty vehicles and HEVs. Drivers will be interviewed and commercially available devices will be installed in some drivers' vehicles. This will allow 1) feedback through a consistent interface to all drivers in the sample and 2) a comparison of the experimental feedback to any feedback mechanism already in any of the vehicles. The experiment will be run over several months; this will limit the sample size. Therefore, this qualitative research is expected to produce insights into specific types of driver feedback and to produce the requisite knowledge to design and deploy a larger scale study to produce estimates of generalizable effects.