Managing Consumer Mythology: The Green Consumption of E10 Fuel

Pepukayi Chitakunye, Fanny Saruchera, Evelyn Derera, Amandeep Tarkhar-Lail

Abstract


The purpose of this article is to explore how myths become meaningful to consumers of ethanol-blended petrol (E10) in Zimbabwe. The last decade has seen the emergence and increasing significance of being green. Consequently, green consumption has become a topic of increasing significance amongst consumers and scholars. This study adopted a multiple-method research strategy, that included 32 key informant in-depth interviews, and 150 questionnaires completed by ordinary consumers. The study unpacks how myths can be used as a symbol of resistance where there is a wide range of product choice. We find that the market acceptance of Zimbabwe’s E10 remained pessimistic, yet elsewhere in the world, the same blend has been packaged as a ‘premium, super brand’. Drawing from the findings, we argue that consumers engage with myths in their everyday lives, and the meanings associated with myths are transferred to the ‘green fuel’ brands. Although the consumption of E10 fuel is important to the maintenance of a green society, it should be understood that there are consumer misconceptions ranging from technical fuel composition, engine compatibility, mixed pricing perceptions and policy-related issues. Revealing how E10 fuel has been a success story in other countries, our study demonstrates how marketing education can be employed to create awareness of the benefits for consuming green fuel. Our findings also reveal how myths slowly die a natural death when product choice becomes limited. These findings contribute to an understanding of how consumer misconceptions about a product or service can impact product image and sales.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p1098


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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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