[Oeva-list] Car Buyers Won't Change Habits Until Gas Hits $6.51 A Gallon

Greg Long greglongoregon at gmail.com
Thu Apr 5 21:47:08 PDT 2012


$6.51/gal? Recent months' efficient auto sales numbers reflect
otherwise. As far as going to EV, GreenCar Reports addressed that the
other day. I imagine all the standard factors often discussed will
affect the shift, i.e., oil prices, education, improving EV
performance, availability of charging stations at popular
destinations, existing buyer experience, and competing alternatives
such as cars which can burn natural gas or biofuels.

Funny shaped experimental cars, impressive cabin-class motorcycles,
NEV's and poor performers such as lead-acid based BEV's will probably
have limited appeal, unless someone is sitting on a brilliant
marketing strategy. Then again, you never know, consumer behavior is
odd. People buy all sorts of seriously fugly vehicles... Those boxy
Scions sold like hotcakes, as did the Chrysler 300, and the VW bug was
brought back in the 1990's, and some people still find "dualie"
pickups attractive. Thick eyeglass frames got popular somehow. Go
figure.

Actual mileage may vary, in which case, you can sue Honda for your bad
driving behavior.

On Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 9:23 PM,  <Theoldcars at aol.com> wrote:
> Gas prices would have to get pretty high to really affect people's habits
> (mroach, Flickr).
>
> More than one third of car shoppers say that gas prices will have to top
> $6.51 before they would consider buying a more fuel efficient vehicle,
> according to a recent survey obtained by AOL Autos.
>
> The Autotrader.com survey reveals that many Americans have grown numb to the
> constant drumbeat of higher gas prices, says Rick Wainschel, AutoTrader vice
> president, automotive insights.
>
> "People are coming to grips with higher prices of gas," Wainschel said.
> "They are concerned with fuel prices, but they expect gas prices to remain
> high."
>
> While most consumers say a new vehicle's fuel efficiency is important,
> saving money and helping the environment was not the top reason for buying a
> new vehicle, the survey showed.
>
> Furthermore, the price of fuel would have to rise considerably before many
> would seriously consider a vehicle that got better fuel economy.
>
> According to the survey:
>
> -19 percent said they would need gas prices to be $4 and $4.50 for them to
> change their buying habits
>
> -7 percent said it would have to be $4.51 and $5
>
> -18 percent said it would have to be between $5 and $5.50
>
> -11 percent said it would have be $5.51 and $6
>
> -10 percent said it would have to be $6 and $6.50
>
> -35 percent said it would have to be over $6.51
>
> "The mindset is shifting," Wainschel said.
>
> Other industry experts said other factors could come into play when it comes
> to pain at the pump, such as when consumers see their single tank filling
> top $100.
>
> What would gas have to cost for you to consider buying a more fuel efficient
> vehicle?
>
> "People are getting accustomed to high gas prices and are adjusting the way
> they spend their money," said Eric Lyman, vice president at ALG, which is
> part of TrueCar.com. In 2008, when gas prices spiked to over $4 a gallon,
> which spurred big sales in fuel efficient cars.
>
> "That was a shock to the system, and it directly impacted consumer
> behavior," Lyman said.
>
> This time, however, the prices have slowly grown higher and higher.
> GasBuddy.com predicts that the national average for a gallon of gas could
> climb to as high as $4.35 by the end of April. According the Gasbuddy.com's
> website, the national average is $3.92 per gallon.
>
> And while consumers may have grown apathetic toward higher gas prices, some
> say the rising price of gas is helping carmakers sell even more vehicles.
>
> Aaron Bragman of IHS Automotive used the example of a person who owns a five
> year old Buick Park Avenue that gets 26 mpg trading it in for a 2012
> LaCrosse with eAssist that gets 36 mpg.
>
> "That's a 40 percent increase and something people will notice immediately
> in their pocketbook," he said.
>
> Additionally, Bragman points out that the average age of a vehicle on the
> road is older than ever before and those less efficient vehicles are likely
> to be swapped out for more efficient models, no matter what type of vehicle
> the consumer chooses.
>
> "There are a lot of reasons the new car market is doing so well right now,"
> Bragman said.
>
> Credit has loosened up, trade in values are high and the used car prices are
> extremely high. All of that is likely to push more people into a new car.
>
> Wainshel is equally as optimistic.
>
> "Things are improving and consumer confidence in the future is one of the
> reasons we're seeing such strong sales," he said.
>
> But don't expect the floodgates to open for highly efficient small cars.
> That segment will grow, but it won't be only because of high gas prices. Not
> until those prices get really high.
>
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