A new J.D. Power and Associates study shows that nearly three in four consumers have a strong interest in hybrid-electric powertrains, like that of the Toyota Prius, for their next auto purchase.

Consumers are warming to hybrid-electric powertrain technology, both before and after learning the average market price ($5,000), according to a recent J.D. Power and Associates study. The 2008 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study found that before market price is revealed, 72% of consumers say they are "definitely/probably" interested in having hybrid-electric technology in their next vehicle, in marked contrast to a 2005 study in which 58% indicated the same interest.

Even after the average price point is revealed, consumer interest remains high at 46%, according to the market research firm.

Mike Marshall, director of automotive emerging technologies at J.D. Power and Associates, attributes the rise to both increased fuel prices and a consumer desire to be more environmentally conscious. Marshall says that by comparison, interest in clean diesel technology is relatively low, perhaps a result of consumers unable to differentiate between clean diesel and the negative connotations of traditional diesel.

Other technologies on consumer's radars: Backup assist (68% after average market price is revealed); active cornering headlight systems (65%) and wireless connectivity systems (53%).

Research from SEMA's Automotive Lifestyles survey, taken from a sample of enthusiasts who subscribe to automotive magazines and visit automotive websites, reveals that 10% had purchased a Bluetooth wireless accessory in 2007, with 8% indicating that they planned to do so. Enthusiasts are also more educated about and have more experience with diesel; 9% already own a diesel, the bulk of them (92%) pickups, with SUVs (3%) and passenger cars (2%) following.

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