Demand-side solutions are increasingly recognised as fundamental to securing a sustainable energy future. However, a lack of empirical research around consumer perspectives presents a challenge to identifying which demand-side solutions could have most traction and how best they should be implemented. To begin addressing this issue, the World Energy Council’s community of Future Energy Leaders (FELs) conducted a global survey of more than 2,500 respondents providing insight into consumer attitudes and behaviours associated with alternative transport fuels.

With particular relevance for policymakers, vehicle manufacturers, fuel providers and urban planners, these findings demonstrate the level of appetite – and need – for policies that promote the uptake of alternative transport fuels in different countries and regions.

David Livingston
Livingston was an associate fellow in Carnegie’s Energy and Climate Program, where his research focuses on emerging markets, technologies, and risks.
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This report provides a deep-dive analysis of the survey results from the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region. The analysis supports the following key findings:

  • Consumers in the LAC region do care about the type of transport fuel they use. They say they are willing to pay more, on a monthly basis, for alternative transport fuels that have lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional transport fuels.
    • 73% of respondents say they are willing to pay more for alternative transport fuels with lifetime greenhouse gas benefits over fossil fuels.
  • Consumers in the region are more familiar with the energy–water–food nexus than consumers in other parts of the world. However, there is demand for more information on the quantifiable impacts of decisions associated with this dimension.
    • 63% of respondents are familiar with the energy–water–food nexus (compared to 44% of global respondents).
  • Consumers in the region do not think that the transition to alternative transport fuels is happening fast enough. A lack of government support is cited as the main reason for this lethargy.
    • 69% of respondents do not think their country is transitioning to an alternative transport fuel future at an appropriate rate.
  • A plurality of consumers in the LAC region predicts that natural gas will be the most significant contributor to the alternative transport fuel mix in the next 5–10 years.
    • 38% of respondents in the LAC region think that natural gas will be the most significant contributor to the transport fuel mix in the next 5–10 years. This significantly contrasts with consumer views in Asia, Europe and North America which identify electric vehicles as the most important contributor.
  • Consumers in the region are generally aware of alternative transport fuels, but they lack the practical understanding required to enable them to modify their behaviours and decisions.
    • 81% of respondents in the region are familiar with alternative transport fuels.
    • 53% of respondents do not know whether their personal vehicles can utilise alternative transport fuels.
  • Consumers' main reason for travel occurs over short distances (under 50km). In urban contexts, the provision of better, more accessible, public transportation that utilises alternative fuels, could help to reduce demand for personal travel as well as the level of greenhouse gas emissions.
    • 78% of respondents travel under 50km for their main reason of transport.

This report shows that awareness of, and willingness to pay for, alternative transport fuels is relatively high in the LAC region. Consumers are sending a strong signal to decision makers that a transition to an alternative transport fuel future is not only warranted, but desirable.

Whilst awareness and willingness to pay is relatively high, potential solutions are less well defined. The findings of this report suggest a range of potential actions that could improve the uptake of alternative transport fuels. Solutions will need to be regionally and nationally tailored and should be undertaken by a range of stakeholders including policymakers, urban planners, vehicle manufacturers and transport fuel providers.

The FEL Taskforce believe that the recommendations identified in this report (a selection is noted below) will serve as a catalyst to speed-up the necessary transition to an alternative transport fuel future - and thus contribute to energy trilemma goals.

  • Decision makers within public and private institutions, should note the high demand for products, investments and policies that encourage and enable greater uptake of alternative transport fuels
  • There is a clear role for decision makers to work together to inform and communicate to the public, the quantifiable impacts of policies or projects that have an energy-water-food nexus dimension
  • Governments should look to remove distortions in the market that discourage the uptake of alternative transport fuels; research and transparency around the true fiscal cost of fossil fuel subsidies is required
  • Urban planners and governments are challenged to continue to prioritise urban transportation infrastructure that takes cars off the road and reduces fuel use

Read the full report on the World Energy Council website.