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In a sign that the high cost of gasoline has finally struck a central nerve, car shoppers today are reportedly more concerned about fuel economy than they are about the brand of vehicle when shopping for a new car. In addition, consumers want more government control over fuel economy. This startling news, and a reversal of consumer trends two years ago, is the result of a new AAA survey which studied consumers' attitudes towards fuel prices.

It appears that consumers were getting used to the cyclic fluctuations of gas prices. Prices shot up based on market conditions, supply and demand, and season increases. However, they always seemed to drop back to more palatable levels... at least they used to. Today, according to leading economists, consumers are finally catching-on to the idea that $4 a gallon gas might be the norm. This reality-check of fuel costs will lead to downsizing, and a focus on vehicle efficiency. Have we finally found the Achilles heel of the SUV?

[Source: The Detroit News, photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      It is so depressing how many here either want government intervention to stop people from buying what they want or take money from the oil companies as if that will fix it.

      So these people are either driven by selfishness, jealously, or ignorance.

      The biggest profiteer from gas prices is the government, at all levels the government makes more from that gallon of gas than any oil company (and what constitutes an oil company? Some of the biggest refineries are not owned by traditional "oil" companies). Combine this government taxation with uncoordinated rules as to what can go into the gasoline (read:summer blends based on whims of local politicians) and its no wonder why gas can cost so much.

      The real solution is to buy what you want. If you want to piss away your income on gasoline with a gas guzzling style-mobile then by all means do so. I look at it like the lottery. Stupid people think what they drive is important... and they usually believe they can win the lottery "one day".

      Asking the government to do something for you is the ultimate expression of laziness and selfishness.

      The market will force the automakers to improve mileage faster than the government. When the people as a whole want it they will get it.

      We already have the cars to get high mileage. Change doesn't happen over night (let along the fact many have four to six year loans on their monster trucks) and as such there will be a bit of lag before people do move to smaller cars and more fuel efficient ones.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Generally speaking I agree with you although when the subject is a finite commodity that is CRITICAL to industrial development around the globe then having some sort of comprehensive national energy policy is a smart idea. And yes, you can do what you want, but if you're consuming this finite resource at twice the rate of more responsible people then it's not just a matter of personal choice because that means you're costing me money by driving up demand and potentially affecting the lives of my children. That's why people with a big picture view favor gov't involvement.

        You would think people would sit down and do the math (I save 33 gallons of gas/month which = $100/month - invested monthly at 12% in 20 years I now have over $47,000) and want to save money, or care how much they pollute, or care about all the money they're sending to the middle east or ExxonMobil but unfortunately most people couldn't care less about anyone but themselves. That's also why people with a big picture view favor gov't involvement.
      • 6 Years Ago
      When prices went up last year my brother in law decided he just had to save money on gas. He bought an older Honda, after a new carburetor, head gasket, one more car with insurance it died it's death this spring total cost out of pocket 2.600 dollars. Found another one, newer, now needs "minor" repairs, sitting. Total cost so far, 2,800 dollars. His SUV was getting 18 miles per gallon. His total cost for gas even at todays price for back and forth to work would have been about 2,200 dollars. Do the math.

      Yesterday a guy in front of me at the station was complaining about the price of gas, hmmm overweight 3 donuts 3 non diet Mountain Dew's bottled water 2 for the fat wife in the car a 1,000 calorie snack buritto for her and he's bitching about gas. Do the math.

      If fluctuations of a dollar per gallon are breaking the bank, well---------
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is that picture current? I feel sorry for that man. Here where I live we are still thankfully only paying 3.19$ for unleaded.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I really think that oil companies own these big car companies!!!!

      Look at Russia it has the largest energy reserve in the world gas, coil to produce electricity etc.... all these big sleeping giants are waking up and americans are feeling it.
      Flex fuel has been around for years i still cant locate one station that has it.

      They are moving way to slow in advancing their technology i feel as if they are milking us a lil longer...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Maybe this will soften the market for the endless amount of trucks, SUVs and crossovers flooding our roads.
      • 6 Years Ago
      We have a limited resource and too many obese vehicles out there.

      If I was in the market for a new vehicle, I would be influenced by the cost of gas and obligation to conserve.

      I'm not sure that many buyers think that way with all the giant dinosaurs rumbling all over the place.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They actually spent money on survey to find this out is more interesting news.
      • 6 Years Ago
      what you guys really should be worrying about is the day India and China have wide access to VERY cheap cars (under 5K).

      given that over 1/3 of the population of the world resides in China/India, you can expect gas prices to sky rocket as world supplies dwindle.

      and dont you just love how oil rich countries like venezuela have gas pump prices that are under 50cents a gallon? :D
      • 6 Years Ago
      Disgruntled Goat wrote: "the subject is a finite commodity [...]"

      Hydrocarbons are not finite commodities.
      http://www.juliansimon.com/writings/Ultimate_Resource/TCHAR20.txt

      "(3) Resources that can be reproduced
      or recycled or substituted for, and that we value for their material uses; examples
      include wood pulp, trees, copper, oil, and food. [...] contrary to common belief, category 3 resources (including
      oil) are all renewable."
      • 6 Years Ago
      "AAA survey says fuel mileage [...]"

      The term is "fuel economy".
      • 6 Years Ago
      For those who want to regulate oil company profits- I ask what profit margin is acceptable?

      Oil companies operate on a profit margin of roughly 9%- far less most businesses.

      The problem is not the oil companies. Right now the price oil is being driven by speculative commodoties brokers, OPEC, increased consumption in developing markets and a devalued dollar.

      Oil companies do not set the price of a barrel of oil. They are the ones paying $102+/- per barrel that they then incur the cost to refine and distribute to us consumers.

      People need to keep some perspective when the media continues to repeat the mantra of "record oil company profits". These "record profits" are the equivalent of hearing how some movie released in 2007 made $300 million dollars, which, as the media tells, would be a bigger hit than Gone With The Wind. We know that's not true, but yet when people are told that Exxon is making way more money than they did 15 years ago, people don't take into consideration that Exxon and Mobil merged since then.

      We're also not being given profits in constant dollars nor the fact that developing nations are consuming far more oil than they were even five years ago.

      The last time the government got involved in 'price fixing' gasoline, during the Carter Adminsitration, the price of gasoline reached $3.21 a gallon (in constant dollars). It's obviously an idea that works very well.

      Instead of being mad at the oil companies, maybe people should direct their anger at the politicians who voted to allow oil companies to sell 90% of the oil from Alaska to be sold to Asia. These are the same politicians who have refused to allow oil companies to access the vast amounts of oil under American soil and waters.

      Simutaneously, nearly half (41%) of Americans have stock, courtesy of 401k's and Mutual Funds that contain oil stocks, which means that nearly half of the US is directly profiting from these 'record profts'.

      Just because some ill-informed talking head says you should be mad at oil companies, doesn't mean they are right. Toyota operates on a profit margin greater than 9% and no one is calling for their head.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about instead of the government controlling gas mileage they control the amount of profit oil companies generate.

      I know the idea has been used with electric companies to stop gouging in the past.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree with Dan,
        The government "privatizing" Everything is a Huge New tax increase in nearly every area.

        Thieves Capitalism is going to break this country and make the US a 3rd world nation, behind China, way behind.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Every time our elite government personnel look into gouging by oil companies they come up empty. That means that oil companies are not gouging, or oil companies are buying off government personnel. Having government involved in gas mileage regulation will do for private transportation what government involvement in health care has done for health care costs - screw it up.
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