California Vehicle Survey

An important element of the mission of the California Energy Commission is improving reliable access to different forms of energy in order to meet the needs of California consumers and businesses. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct independent and objective analyses of energy demand. The Energy Commission generates a forecast of Californians' future fuel needs, and due to the changing fuel and vehicle technology markets, it is important to assess shifts in consumer preference. Therefore, the Commission periodically surveys vehicle owners in both commercial and residential market segments.

This is not an opinion survey; it includes a stated preferences section to capture consumer preferences for vehicle attributes including fuel type, class, and price, through choices that respondents make in various situations. The survey is designed to understand consumers' and businesses' current vehicle holdings and potential vehicle choices. Through detailed questions about respondents' vehicle ownership and preferences for different fuel and vehicle technologies, the survey greatly expands staff's understanding of consumer behavior and the shifts in consumer preferences.

The survey data are used to update the light duty vehicle choice models that are used in generating vehicle demand forecasts and provide insights into policy questions, such as:

With information from this survey, planners, energy suppliers and policy makers across the state are better able to anticipate the ever-changing needs of California vehicle owners.

Resources Systems Group (RSG) is contracted to conduct the 2019 California Vehicle Survey, due to begin in February. Between February and May, households and businesses, randomly selected for participation, will receive a post card in the mail inviting them to participate in this survey.

Please respond, if you receive the post card. It can make a difference for all of us in California.

Can I access the Previous Survey Data?

The 2013 and 2017 anonymized survey data are housed on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) at Transportation Secure Data Center (TSDC) https://www.nrel.gov/transportation/secure-transportation-data.html , but you will first need to create a (free) account with the TSDC.

The 2013 survey data is located at:
https://www.nrel.gov/transportation/secure-transportation-data/tsdc-california-vehicle-survey-2013.html

The 2017 survey data is located at:
https://www.nrel.gov/transportation/secure-transportation-data/tsdc-california-vehicle-survey-2017.html

The survey data include both data on the household and commercial participants' current light duty vehicles, as well as data on their stated preferences for a hypothetical set of vehicles presented to them. Data also contain information related to travel behavior.

Can I Access the Survey Reports?

RSG prepared the technical reports for the 2017 California Vehicle Survey and staff compiled them into the final reports. The commission provides the final report reports in two volumes, for readers' convenience, with the first part focused on survey design and the second part focused on survey results and the vehicle choice models.

2015 - 2017 California Vehicle Survey
Publication # CEC-200-2018-006. Posted May 24, 2018. (PDF File, 2.6 MB)

2015 - 2017 California Vehicle Survey - Appendix
Posted May 24, 2018. (PDF File, 11.2 MB)


For more information contact:

Aniss Bahreinian, Project Manager
Transportation Energy Forecasting Unit
Demand Analysis Office
Energy Assessments Division
Phone: 916-653-0381
Email: aniss.bahreinian@energy.ca.gov