I was gathering new information for my post and came across – “A new survey, released today by Yahoo!” – Autos found that a majority of Americans are ready for a smaller vehicle, a sign of how much concern over gas prices has reshaped our tastes. However they’re sharply divided on whether a hybrid car or truck will be worth the extra costs. When asked if they would pay more for a hybrid vehicle, a majority, 55%, say they would be willing to pay $1,000 more for a hybrid and 42% said they would pay between $500 – $2,000 extra, but 38% said hybrids are not worth an extra penny.
I was also reading some additional details about Fuel Efficient vehicles boost on U.S. dealership profits - Rising fuel prices typically hurt vehicle demand, but dealers sold more vehicles at higher prices during the quarter in contrast with previous times when gas prices spiked, AutoNation Inc (AN.N), Penske Automotive Group (PAG.N) and Lithia Motors Inc (LAD.N) told analysts during conference calls on Wednesday.
“Consumers were willing to pay a premium for fuel-efficient cars and trucks” – if it meant saving money on gasoline down the line, executives and analysts said. The new models available in showrooms are, on average, 20 percent more fuel-efficient than vehicles introduced five years ago, AutoNation Chief Executive Mike Jackson said. The average age of U.S. vehicles is nearly 11 years old.
For a more technical review, I spent some time digging into this important topic and noticed consumers are downsizing from larger vehicles to smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles. As rising gasoline prices became a pain in the pocketbook this year, – “Matt German decided it was time to buy a new car.” So he traded in his hot-rod Ford pickup for a Ford Focus compact car and cut his fuel bill in half. “I went from paying $80 every time I filled up to paying less than $40 and getting just as much distance out of a tank,” said German, 23, of Rochester, New York. “As gas prices were going up, I figured it was time to get out of that truck.”
Rising gasoline prices have gone from bane to boon for the recovering U.S. auto industry. In 2008, U.S. gas prices hit a record of $4.11 a gallon and contributed to Detroit’s downfall, as truck and sport-utility vehicle sales collapsed. With gasoline again approaching $4, buyers are returning to showrooms to replace old guzzlers with new, fuel-efficient models.
What are the effects of cheap gas? Automakers are pursuing alternative technologies — but note that all of the technologies have drawbacks — “from costs to infrastructure to fuel sources.” Cowland said the industry needs to focus on technologies that can get big demand from consumers — as opposed to technologies that only account for 1 to 3 percent of the market.
Robert Bienenfeld, Honda’s senior manager for environment and energy strategy, said if oil prices fall, automakers will struggle to meet the 2025 requirements. ”It’s going to be very challenging to meet these fuel standards,” he said. Auto executives noted that the cost per mile of driving may decline even as fuel prices continue to rise because of improving fuel efficiency.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of how automated cars will hep us at the fuel pump of the future.