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Exxon - Survey Results of Highway Travelers
The Ideal Road Trip:  Bottomless Gas Tank, Plentiful Provisions
And Robin Williams in the Passenger Seat
HOUSTON, May 13, 1998 -  You're lost. You're hungry. You've had so much coffee you're about to pop. Whatever the reason, you're hunting down the next service station for a quick pit stop. With insight provided by its new survey, Exxon has a feeling you'll be stopping by and knows just what you need.

Results from Exxon Company USA's 1998 Survey on Driver Behavior today revealed some of America's preferred rules of the road. That, and the fact that most American drivers would rather take a road trip with Robin Williams, Garth Brooks, Helen Hunt and other celebrities than with their spouses.

In connection with Exxon's new national "Driver Friendly" campaign, Exxon sponsored the survey of 1,000 licensed drivers ages 18 and older on driver preferences and behaviors. Results of the phone survey, conducted in April, will help fuel a nationwide tune-up for more than 2,000 Exxon-owned stores and up to 6,500 participating Exxon distributor-owned stores.

"Exxon has been studying the needs, wants, attitudes and behaviors of the nation's drivers for years," said Jim Carter, vice president of marketing for Exxon Company USA. "Candid customer feedback derived by driver surveys helps us become a better one-stop service shop. We know that drivers don't really want to stop at all, but when they do, they typically want gasoline and a whole lot more."

From a list of potential passengers, Williams ranked first with nearly one-quarter (22 percent) of the votes; Brooks and Hunt each garnered 15 percent of the responses; followed by nearly 10 percent each for John Travolta and the cast of Seinfeld. Leonardo DiCaprio and the driver's own spouse rounded out the list, each with five percent of the vote.

Survey Highlights

In addition to revealing Americas dream passengers, the survey exposed other driver preferences and idiosyncrasies.  The following are highlights of the survey:
The top three reasons drivers stop frequently during a road trip are gasoline (31 percent), restroom breaks (28 percent) and food or beverages (24 percent). Only 6 percent stop to take photos and only 2 percent stop for directions.
Only 2 percent of drivers wait until their fuel gauge registers "empty," and only 9 percent wait until the tank is almost empty before stopping for gasoline. Fifty percent of respondents fill up when the gauge is at one-quarter and 34 percent fill up when the gauge is at one-half.
More than half of the drivers surveyed (53 percent) consider a clean restroom most valuable on a driving vacation while almost one-quarter (24 percent) consider food and beverages most valuable.
When motorists do stop for directions, they typically stop at a gas station and ask for help (47 percent) or pull over and look at a map (38 percent). The survey confirmed that more women (54 percent) ask for directions at a gas station than men (39 percent), but more men (42 percent) than women (34 percent) rely on a map for directions. Only 6 percent pull over and ask someone on the street or in another vehicle. Only 4 percent will call someone -- or not ask at all and continue trying to find their way.
Almost two-thirds of drivers (66 percent) sing aloud when driving alone and almost one-third (29 percent) of drivers talk on a cellular phone.
When consuming beverages while driving, most people (61 percent) use cup holders of some type to keep their beverages from spilling rather than holding them in their lap (11 percent) or putting them on the dashboard (only 2 percent).
More drivers stop for a restroom break at a roadside rest stop or a restaurant (33 percent each) than a service station (26 percent).
Few drivers do their personal grooming while behind the wheel. Less than 20 percent of the women surveyed put on make-up while only 10 percent of men say they shave.
Nearly all drivers (80 percent) consume beverages and nearly three- quarters (70 percent) eat while driving alone. Only 10 percent of motorists say they never drink beverages in their vehicle.

OmniTel, a weekly national telephone service, conducted the random telephone survey with a balanced sample of men and women.

About Exxon

The Exxon "Driver Friendly" commitment includes a broad-scale upgrade of Exxon's products and services (depending on location) to improve the entire driving experience and, thus, make drivers' stops more pleasant and productive.  Exxon is implementing the program in more than 2,000 company- owned stores and up to another 6,500 participating independently distributor- owned locations over the next two years.  New amenities include antibacterial, waterless hand soap and music at the pumps; gourmet coffees; fresh fruit and baked goods sections; easy access to area maps; and cleaner, "kid-friendly" restrooms.

Exxon Company USA, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is the domestic oil and gas division of Exxon
Corporation, located in Irving, Texas.

Grace Chen Trent of Fleishman-Hillard

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