Adoption of alternative fuel vehicles: Influence from neighbors, family and coworkers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


During the last years, many governments have set targets for increasing the share of biofuels in the transportation sector. Understanding consumer behavior is essential in designing policies that efficiently increase the uptake of cleaner technologies. In this paper we analyze adopters and non-adopters of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). We use diffusion of innovation theory and the established notion that the social system and interpersonal influence play important roles in adoption. Based on a nationwide database of car owners we analyze interpersonal influence on adoption from three social domains: neighbors, family and coworkers. The results point primarily at a neighbor effect in that AFV adoption is more likely if neighbors also have adopted. The results also point at significant effects of interpersonal influence from coworkers and family members but these effects weaken or disappear when income, education level, marriage, age, gender and green party votes are controlled for. The results extend the diffusion of innovation and AFV literature with empirical support for interpersonal influence based on objective data where response bias is not a factor. Implications for further research, environmental and transport policy, and practitioners are discussed.


  • Johan Jansson
  • Thomas Pettersson
  • Andrea Mannberg
  • Runar Brännlund
  • Urban Lindgren
External organisations
  • Umeå University
  • UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration
  • Economic Geography
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • adoption, alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), interpersonal influence, neighbor effect, diffusion of innovation theory
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-73
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research, Part D: Transport and Environment
Early online date2017 May
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul
Publication categoryResearch

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