International Choice Modelling Conference, International Choice Modelling Conference 2015

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A Hybrid Choice Model for Alternative Fuel Vehicle Purchase
Ioannis Tsouros, Athena Tsirimpa

Last modified: 18 March 2016

Abstract


Alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) are considered a viable solution to the environmental issues that regular fuel vehicle emissions create. With the new greenhouse emissions regulations both in the EU and USA the subject is gaining publicity and academic interest on the purchase choice is rising. This aim of this paper is to investigate the interrelationship between new car purchase and environmental consciousness. For this purpose an advanced hybrid choice model will be developed, where the utilities of the alternative car choices depend on purchase price, fuel consumption, car type and engine size.

Researchers have been concerned with AFVs reception by the people and their willingness to pay for cleaner vehicles (Potoglou & Kanaroglou, 2007) for a decade now. Most of the studies are focused on vehicle attributes and price, but there exist studies that incorporate the impact of attitudes, psychological factors and social influence on the vehicle purchase choice (Kim et al., 2014; Daziano & Bolduc, 2011).

This study is part of, a module of and uses data from "Green Transport in Island Areas" scientific project, which investigates the transportation condition in two big Greek islands (Chios and Lesvos) and creates a policy evaluation platform using a fusion of green transport policies, tourism conditions and economic situation. The sample includes 500 individuals (roughly 2% of the study area) that have participated in a web-based ACBC experiment. Socio-economic, activity diary and attitudes/perceptions data are also available for the sample.

This paper aims to understand and quantify the factors affecting households’ vehicle choice, taking into account the intra-household interactions in this decision. An advanced hybrid mode choice model is under development, where the utilities of the alternative vehicle types depend on the vehicles’ characteristics, individuals’ socioeconomic characteristics, household composition, as well as a latent variable, referring to environmental consciousness. The indicators of the latent variable include perceptions regarding ecological habits such as recycling, active transportation and how they perceive each fuel type.

A case study is presented using data from the household survey that took place in 2014 to obtain information on individuals’ daily activity patterns, attitudes/perceptions towards the environment and vehicle purchase choice (e.g., new/used, model, make, and fuel type) using a menu-based approach. In the latter, respondents were given two stated preference experiments under two different hypothetical future scenarios. The two scenarios are: The "grey" scenario, with a 3 €/lt gas price, a continuation of the economic stagnation in Greece (same level of wages and pensions) and taxes at the same level as the base year and the "green" scenario, with a significant drop in the gas price – 1.2 €/lt, a reasonable economic development, followed by a drop in unemployment rate and a high rise in emission taxes. Respondents were than asked to choose between four different car alternatives: a hybrid car, an electric car, a diesel car or a standard car. Each alternative has as attributes the car’s cubic capacity (cc), car type, and fuel type and vehicle edition (a standard edition, a sport edition, a luxury edition and a hi-technology edition). Each vehicle created and presented in the experiment has a price relevant to the characteristics and size. During the experiment the respondent is asked whether there are any unacceptable or compulsory values for a certain characteristic. In this way better final products, specialized to fit the respondent are presented.

Initial descriptive statistics from the study area report an ownership of 620 vehicles per 1000 people and more specifically 390 cars per 1000 people, which is the third highest in Greece after the dense metropolitan areas of Athens and Thessaloniki, and 180 motorcycles per 1000 people. There are also 0.14 bicycles per household but only a fraction of these show up in the activity diaries available to the researchers. The mean individual reported income is 11.150 €, slightly larger than the national average. Modal split reveals some particular evidence for the study area: Public transport is almost non-existent, taking up roughly 2% of the modal split. Private car amounting to 35% and walking to 27% are the most popular means of transport. Motorcycle follows with 12% and bicycle has only 2.3%. When considering HBW trips, car has half of the share followed by an 18% of walking. 4 out of 10 leisure trips are made by walking. For a better understanding of the study area conditions, it must be stated that the average commute distance is 2.7 kilometers and 3 out of 10 trips have intermediate stops on the way or from the main daily activity of the agent.

This study is expected to reveal and quantify the mechanisms/factors affecting the decision making process for a vehicle purchase, while through the future scenarios approach, the impact of various external attributes such as gas price, greenhouse taxes and the overall economic situation will be explored.

References

Daziano, R.A. & Bolduc, D., 2011. Incorporating pro-environmental preferences towards green automobile technologies through a Bayesian hybrid choice model. Transportmetrica, pp.1–33.

Kamargianni, M.& Polydoropoulou, A., 2014. Generation’s Y Travel Behavior and Perceptions Towards Walkability Constraints among Three Distinct Geographical Areas. Paper presented at the 93rd Annual Transportation Research Board, Washinghton DC, USA.

Kim, J., Rasouli, S. & Timmermans, H., 2014. Expanding scope of hybrid choice models allowing for mixture of social influences and latent attitudes: Application to intended purchase of electric cars. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 69, pp.71–85.

Potoglou, D. & Kanaroglou, P.S., 2007. Household demand and willingness to pay for clean vehicles. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 12(4), pp.264–274.


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