California Vehicle Survey

An important part of the mission of the California Energy Commission is to improve reliable access to different forms of energy in order to meet the needs of California consumers and businesses. A necessary component of this mission is conducting 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 conducts surveys of vehicle owners in both commercial and residential market segments.

The survey is not an opinion survey; it includes a stated preferences section to capture consumer preferences of 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.

Can I access the Survey Data?

The 2013 and 2017 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 includes data on both the current vehicles the household and commercial participants own, 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?

Resources Systems Group (RSG) prepared the technical reports for the 2017 California Vehicle Survey. The commission provides these 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 Assessment Division
Phone: 916-653-0381
Email: aniss.bahreinian@energy.ca.gov