• Dec 24, 2008
It's the same old story, people say one thing, yet do another. The price of fuel has fallen to the point that it's no longer financially ruinous to fill the tank on a full-size pickup, so looks like truck sales will eclipse cars in December. Despite the public's rhetoric about smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles, the populous has seemingly gone back for another feed at the truck trough. Winter tends to remind people of the things that SUVs and trucks are good for, like plowing and effortless going in inclement conditions while also carrying a passel of rugrats and their associated detritus. Not only are truck sales expected to be up, Hybrids will be the flip side of the trend, underperforming compared to what everyone might have thought a mere four months ago. It might end well for the automakers, with higher profit trucks bouncing back, though the investment in green and hybrid technology will go wasted if the marketplace ignores it, a real danger with fuel prices easing... for the time being. Hat tip to reader "Throwback"
[Source: CNN, Photo: yammeringmagpie]




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  • 100 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Which is why CAFE shouldn't determine what kind of vehicles are produced. Fuel prices are clearly the key variable and the customers steer their purchase habits based on them. The market takes care of itself. You can't blame car companies from producing trucks when they are so profitable.
        • 6 Years Ago
        This is stupid. Have you observed the volatility of fuel prices? Do you think Ford/GM/Toyota could have planned for $4 gas followed just four months later by $1.75 gas? The answer is no.

        If nothing else, CAFE takes that volatility out of the equation. All car-makers need to meet or exceed CAFE goals regardless of fuel price. Also, if you think $1.75 gas is here to stay, then you probably also believe that the recession is here to stay as well. Most (if not all) automakers would prefer to have $3/gallon gas and a growing economy than what we have right now.
        • 6 Years Ago
        it would still be a mistake for the automakers to disregard the hybrid technologies. Who knows where we will be in a year? But I think the US teams are doing a better job by having hybrid models of standard cars rather than squashed egg Prius and Insight. and Fusion trumps Camry by a carlength.

        The Volt will be interesting, depending on the energy climate at time of release. Hopefully, GM will still release but limit quantities to meet demand.

        • 6 Years Ago
        what the hell are you guys talking about?
        the reason behind high fuel cost in Europe and Japan is purely due to regulation. they mandate what cars should be produced by twisting the fuel tax. it is NOT like a gallon of gas cost 1 dollar to ship to U.S. but cost 10 dollar to ship to Europe.

        also, the ONLY reason diesel are popular in Europe is becuase government give you a GREAT incentive to buy diesel cars by artifically lower diesel's tax while greatly increase gas' tax, which made diesel the same price, if not cheaper, than gas.

        I don't mind people bashing CAFE for trying to regular cars, but please do your homework if you think Japan and Europe are doing much better.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree, which is why i want everyone who drives an SUV to send his/her first born to Iraq and fight for their parents freedom to drive a "tank"
      • 6 Years Ago
      Merry Christmas Autoblog!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think people should think a little more long-term. I have a Mazda3 2.3L 160HP engine. When price was CAD$1.35/litre, it wasn't very hard to fill my tank and the mileage was perfectly fine. Now that the price of gas is CAD$0.73/litre, I get to save some amount of money. So it's mostly win-win. Why buy a gas-guzzler V8 when you know for a fact that the price will def. go up again someday? And at that time you will be forced to switch vehicles again.

      The key is to buy what you need. If you are a married couple with 1-2 kids, get a sedan or a small-minivan like the Mazda5 or the Kia Rondo. If you are a farmer, get a truck. If you're a urban dweller who loves to drive, get a lightweight I4 car. I don't see the need for a one person to get a Highlander.


      • 6 Years Ago
      It is just amazing how reactionary people are......how about seizing the opportunity to downsize and take all your gas savings and stick it under the matress for the day you will be paying $5.00 again for gas.
        • 6 Years Ago
        This is why it's so frustrating to see people flame back about saying it's a free country people can buy whatever they want, etc etc without addressing the fact that it is indeed incredibly shortsighted to revert back to old habits within months. These people don't learn from their lesson so perhaps this recession is a lesson worth teaching for many of them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ..or use the extra money to pay the mortgage!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I fail to see how a single month means anything? First off people still need and use trucks. Second have you seen some of the deals you can get? In our area you can get a new F-150 for $14,000, that is extremely cheap, if I needed a new truck now is when I would be buying it. Gas price has little to do with it.

      Could it be possible that because it is Christmas and winter and the economy in the crapper that folks are not buying new cars?

      People whine too much.

      I'd love to be able to get some of the foreign cars but big brother doesn't think I should. Instead of pushing for gas tax we should push for deregulation so we can have our choice.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Incredible how fast the people forget and many of them are not able to learn! By the next raise I don't want to hear anyone saying they couldn't have foreseen. Please don't cry then.
      And a tip for President elect Obama: Put taxes on the gas, it's a good moment and its very effective, Europa has proven it and suffers much less under high gas prices.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Look at the serious injury or fatal accident stats.......see what they drive......then decide how many miles per gallon your life is worth.
        • 6 Years Ago
        SUV = higher rollover

        60% of accidents are single vehicle. Do the math yourself.

        Now if you'll excuse me, I wan to go out and buy a motorcycle.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You know the only ones I hear clamoring for small cars are the people here. The rest of us just buy what we want. When gas is expensive we buy small cars. When it's cheap we buy large cars.

      Saw it in the 70's/80's and now....
        • 6 Years Ago
        The problem is that it only takes a few weeks for gas prices to spike and stay up there, but you are locked into your gas guzzler for the duration of the lease, or if you have bought it, it's aftermarket value craters.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Funny how you talk about 'in the 70's and 80's, which is TWO DECADES! We are talking about two months this turned around - which is undeniably short sighted and reactionary.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Does anybody remember Obama's interview on 60 minutes a few weeks ago, where he predicted this trend? He was absolutely right regarding the behavior of people in general.

      On a side note, I remember the last time oil collapsed. As I remember, prices crashed all the way down to the low teens. Right now, oil is already in the mid 30's. Gas price futures are down to 80 cents. The recession has cut back on miles driven.

      However, the recession will eventually pass. If the trend is turning back to gas guzzlers, then perhaps this is a good time to speculate in oil ETFs.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Exactly.

        He called it "shock and trance" which is a nice riff on Bush's idiotic "shock & awe" from the last Gulf War.

        Our whole society is designed for this sort of system, so its going to take more than CAFE changes to get people to change their habits. Calling consumers idiots doesn't help, nor does blaming automakers for cashing in on trends.

        I for one try to spot these bad habits and change my habits as a result, yet its unreasonable for me to expect others to do the same. It is a "free" country after all. Nevertheless if the majority of us wish to see any change we have to be willing to proactively seek it, or else relinquish choice to regulation.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Makes no sense, Wake Up people.. Once OPEC sees we are gas guzzling again, guess what, gas could shoot back up to 4 bucks a gallon, OPEC could make some lame excuses for it's oil production to make it shoot up to over $5.00 a gallon.

      Reason why is gas is low now because DEMANDS dwindled for it here in the U.S.
      • 6 Years Ago
      One can only hope this has mostly been inspired by not just low gas prices but my monumental incentives from manufacturers, and those that really do need trucks are buying them again. If I needed a truck six or seven months ago, I would have done everything I could to wait out the storm of high gas and original MSRP's to hopefully take advantage of deals like what's out there today. But if indeed we are forgetting the penalty of higher fuel prices and buying giant SUV's as commuters, this will put a road block on all the great new technologies that we were begging for a short time ago, and we will be again, as soon as this trend is reversed again.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Proof that American consumers really are that stupid and mentally short-sighted.
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