The youth of today, dubbed 'Generation Y', is all geared up for saving the environment, but only if it comes with an economic benefit, a new research has found.
Based on a scientific survey of 18- to 30-year-olds, researchers from MSU's (Michigan State University's) Eli Broad Graduate School of Management found that young consumers will not pay a premium price for an automobile simply because it is environmentally friendly.
Instead, the determining factor - by far - is fuel efficiency.
According to Clay Voorhees, MSU assistant professor of marketing and lead faculty researcher on the project, the findings indicate an eco-savvy generation that has grown up and is coming to grips with the economic reality of paying bills.
"Generation Y is aging, and the stereotypical assumption that they are a spoiled generation of pierced, tattooed outcasts couldn't be further from the truth," Voorhees said.
"They're maturing into a pragmatic generation that wants to do the right thing for the environment but also has real economic concerns," he added.
MSU and Deloitte, a New York-based marketing and accounting firm, teamed to study the attitudes toward the auto industry of Gen Y.
MSU also launched an in-depth investigation into Gen Y's view of sustainability as it relates to the industry.
According to the sustainability study, young consumers will pay only 1,500 dollars extra for a 20,000 dollars automobile simply because it is a hybrid and considered environmentally friendly.
But those same consumers will pay an additional 8,000 dollars for a vehicle that gets 15 extra miles per gallon - regardless of whether it's a hybrid or not.
"It's all about economic motivation," Voorhees said. "While people want to do the right thing - they want to save the world, particularly Gen Y - they need an extra incentive on top of the motivation of owning a car that produces less emissions," he added.