US: What makes drivers purchase from their preferred fuel brands?

Cheryl Kar
September 24, 2021, 10:27 AM UTC

Data from YouGov Profiles sheds light on the most purchased fuel type among American drivers and what’s making them choose a fuel brand 

YouGov Profiles data shows that as of August 2021, nearly three-quarters of American drivers say they have bought normal unleaded gasoline for vehicles (72%), while just 16% purchased its premium version. Regular and premium diesel is bought by just 5% and 3% of US drivers, respectively. 

But while ordinary gasoline dominates when it comes to type of fuel, what’s motivating US drivers to buy from a particular fuel brand? 

A look at the list of key factors that influence American drivers to make a fuel purchase reveals that low price secures the top spot (46%). Nearly the same share (44%) say that the availability of fuel near their house or on a regular route tends to play a significant role in choosing a fuel brand, making convenience integral to fuel purchasing habits. 

Further down the list comes trust which is cited by a majority of consumers as a factor in their decision (28%). Closely following are the quarter of American drivers who emphasize quality when purchasing fuel (24%). 

However, it’s not just fuel that draws American drivers to a filling station, as 15% of this audience tell us they like a convenience store at the same site. Related to this finding, 12% of drivers in the US are encouraged to purchase fuel because of a carwash facility or an ATM at the fuel station. A minor proportion (9%) also say that they bought fuel because of a discount voucher which gave them money off the pole sign price. 

It’s clear that American drivers are looking for more than just fuel when visiting filling stations. Miscellaneous facilities, loyalty programs and discounts can play an integral role in helping fuel brands attract a higher share of consumers. 

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Data is from the 22 August 2021 dataset. YouGov Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles