WASHINGTON — More than 8 out of 10 Americans (83 percent) know they have many options when it comes to vehicle financing and 58 percent feel informed about the auto financing process, according to a new public opinion survey.

The survey, conducted by AWARE, a nonprofit consumer education group focused on auto financing, also found positive trends among consumers regarding their future auto financing plans. The survey showed that:

–67 percent plan to do more research on their financing options as they consider their next vehicle purchase, with African-American (77 percent) and Hispanic (80 percent) consumers the most likely to do so.

–54 percent will check their credit score before purchasing their next car or truck

–64 percent will compare interest rates from different sources

–70 percent say they will negotiate their financing on their next vehicle purchase

"Financial literacy efforts are paying off as more and more consumers feel informed and know about their options when it comes to auto financing," said Eric Hoffman of AWARE (www.autofinancing101.org). "And while this news is encouraging, clearly an education opportunity still exists for organizations like AWARE to fill."

The comprehensive survey was conducted to find out how consumers approach the vehicle financing process. Among the other important findings:

–Nearly 150 million Americans (71 percent) want more information from the vehicle financing industry, especially African-Americans (83 percent) and young consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 (86 percent).

–Nearly half of all consumers (47 percent) selected "negotiating financing rates" as their first or second choice for what they'd like  more information about, followed by "finding good rates" (42 percent).

–When given a choice, consumers chose the Internet (41 percent) as their preferred medium for receiving information on auto financing.

"We recognized early on that consumers preferred receiving information via the Internet. That's why we started our Web site, www.autofinancing101.org," Hoffman said. "Now, this research gives us a further glimpse into the needs of consumers related to the auto financing process. It will help us as we continue building educational offerings that consumers can use in today's busy world."