A survey from Honda UK questioned 1,200 British drivers on their attitudes towards the environment and their understanding of alternative fuel vehicles.
More than 40% didn't know that a hybrid vehicle was a car that uses both petrol and electric power.
The research also asked people to name a type of alternative fuel vehicle and 82% failed to mention the petrol-electric hybrid car.
People were even less aware of the potential cost savings of owning a hybrid car. Only 35% of those surveyed correctly associated hybrids with lower fuel costs. Very few knew hybrids entitled the owner to reduced company car tax (4%), lower road fund tax (2%) and the 100% discount from the London congestion charge (2%).
The research shows British drivers are more likely to be motivated by money rather than by environmental responsibility. When the 73% who said they were unlikely to buy a hybrid were asked what would make them consider one, the top factor (43%) was ‘if I was sure running costs would be lower’ followed by ‘if petrol became too expensive’ (34%). This substantiates the number one reason for rejecting a hybrid: ‘too expensive’ (34%).
Similarly, of the 18% who would consider a hybrid car, the top motivating factor was lower fuel costs (54%) rather than environmental benefits (39%).
When asked who should be responsible for encouraging better take up of greener vehicles, 70% suggested the Government or car manufacturers (35% each).
Less than a fifth (17%) of drivers saw it as their own responsibility to lessen the environmental impact of their vehicles.