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Over-65s are the most interested in talking to car dealers about fuel economy, sustainability and EVs

  • New research from eBay Motors Group shows over-65s are most worried about fuel economy and emissions
  • The most important environmental factor for this age group is fuel economy
  • eBay Motors calls this the ‘grandparent effect’

Time 8:53 am, January 24, 2022

New research has revealed that over-65s are most fuel economy-conscious when buying their next vehicle and are the most likely to ask a dealer about a car’s environmental impact.

As part of eBay Motors Group’s Consumer Impact Panel Survey, 44 per cent of over-65s said that the most important thing when it comes to sustainability a dealer can know is the fuel economy for each car. This was important to 29 per cent of 18-to-24-year-olds.

The survey was carried out among 2,000 in-market new and used car buyers from across the UK, aged from 18 to over 65, and was conducted in mid-November 2021, meaning the fuel shortage was fresh in people’s minds and Cop26 was taking place in Glasgow.


Fuel economy was the most important on average across all age groups, followed by dealers knowing the emissions for each car. This was still most important to over-65s, with 35 per cent choosing it.

Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group, said: ‘What we’re seeing is the emergence of a “grandparent effect” in car choice, whereby older buyers are giving more consideration to the impact their next purchase will have on the planet than they’ve previously been credited with.

‘The more widely held belief is that young consumers are driving the green debate. However, our research shows that when it comes to their next car choice, the over-65s are actively engaged and factoring in the legacy they’re leaving for their children and grandchildren.’

The lifespan of a vehicle was also important to 37 per cent of buyers over 65, compared with 24 per cent aged 18 to 24 and only 16 per cent of 25-to-34-year-olds.


Dealers being able to talk about new electric models that are due to be launched was also the most important to over-65s, with 27 per cent choosing this.

Kelleher added: ‘Older buyers visiting their local used car dealer are possibly more likely to have built a relationship with a salesperson over the years and are actively looking for expert guidance when it comes to the environmental impact of their next car and whether to go electric.

‘It’s therefore important for dealers to engage with older buyers on the environmental benefits of the cars they’re selling.

‘Dealers also have a role to play in promoting their carbon-offset credentials, especially to younger buyers looking to make their purchase as carbon-neutral as possible.

‘For these buyers, carbon offsetting is more likely to be part of their broader lifestyle choices, not just a consideration when buying a car.’

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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