• Feb 11th 2011 at 4:09PM
  • 13
Mid-January reports from the U.S. Energy Information Association confirm what should be obvious to motorists across the nation; gas prices are on the rise. This rise has put the price of gasoline above the $3 per gallon mark throughout the vast majority of the U.S. and is driving consumers towards more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Back in January, Ford's chief executive officer, Alan Mulally, stated:
As fuel prices go up, people put more emphasis on fuel economy. We saw previously that as gas prices get above $3, people start making different decisions.
Swapalease, a company that specializes in facilitating automotive lease transfers, indicates that the $3 per gallon cost has evoked an emphasis on the importance of fuel efficiency. The lease-transfer firm reports that it has received an abnormally high amount of requests for fuel-sipping autos and notes that clients looking to transfer out of leases due to abysmal fuel economy is on the upward trend.

Shocking, we know. Read all the details after the break.

[Source: Swapalease | Image: A Siegel – C.C. License 2.0]
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Consumer Preferences Shift as Gas Prices Rise

CINCINNATI, Jan. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mid month reports from the U.S. Energy Information Association confirm what your wallet already knows... that gas prices are on the rise across the United States. In fact, there is not a region across the country where prices were not up from the same period a year ago. Additionally, this rise put the price per gallon of gasoline above the $3 threshold in every region across the U.S. with the exception of one.

In mid January, Ford Motor Company CEO, Alan Mulally, was quoted as saying, "As fuel prices go up, people put more emphasis on fuel economy. We saw previously that as gas prices get above $3, people start making different decisions." Unlike a couple of years ago the automotive industry is better prepared as prices increase. This is especially true for the domestic automakers that are much better positioned this time around with more fuel efficient offerings. For instance, Chevrolet is introducing 3 new fuel efficient entrants including the Cruze, Sonic, and the much anticipated Volt plug-in hybrid electric.

Recent search requests at Swapalease.com indicate that the $3 per gallon barrier may cause a shift in consumer attitudes toward the importance of fuel efficiency when selecting their next vehicle. Company officials noted that search requests for higher mile per gallon vehicles have increased notably over the last several months. Clients looking to transfer out of leases as a result of fuel economy concerns is trending upward, too.

Company President and Co-Founder, Richard Joseph stated, "More of our clients were searching for cars that require less fill ups as 2010 came to a close and so far into 2011." He added, "Swapalease.com listened to customer feedback regarding the request for a way to easily search for more fuel efficient vehicles by incorporating a Green/Hybrid category search option." Customers can now search hybrid vehicles on Swapalease.com with a simple click of a button.

About Swapalease.com:

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Swapalease.com is the world's largest automotive lease marketplace and the pioneer in facilitating lease transfers online. First conceptualized in 1997, Swapalease has evolved into a leading automotive consumer online destination servicing all aspects of the automotive leasing lifecycle including education, research, pricing, acquisition and lease transfer. For more information, please call 866-SWAPNOW (866-792-7669) or visit www.swapalease.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gas prices rise in 2008... in 2009 they start to drop because of the recession... .and suddenly everybody has Amnesia. They figured that would be a good time to get a lease on a SUV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hmm... Sounds familiar but I don't know...

        I'll go out on a limb here and say as soon as there's a month or more of receding gas prices, hybrids and small car sales will dip in favor of large SUV's and trucks.

        Just a hunch. It's not like I've exactly seen this once... Or twice... or 3 times before...
        • 4 Years Ago
        People are short term, wallet-thinking mor*ns. As soon as gas drops below $2.60 they flock to fat SUVs, and a year later when it's at $3.60 they act surprised again. WOW
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mulally is a smart guy and is heading his company in the right direction by actually thinking more than a few years into the future.

      That being said, i don't think gas is high enough for people to start making real changes, although the compact car segment has been pretty hot lately, that is good to see.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Word. I remember when it was $4.50 a gallon in my neck of California, i had more than a few conversations with coworkers on how they could get our of their underwater v8 SUV loans.

        I remember not being able to buy a compact 4 cylinder car at a used dealer lot, and the price of such cars on craigslist was quite inflated.

        It is sad that we have to be forced into not blowing energy like there was no tomorrow. I will be laughing on those rare occasions that i go to a pump to fill up my car's 12 gallon tank. I hope the same applies to you :)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed. It always seemed to me that the two breaking points are $4 and $5.

        At four dollars a gallon we got a lot of people considering more fuel efficient cars. They even might have started changing their driving habits a bit. But soon the pain becomes a dull throb and life more or less goes on unchanged.

        At five dollars a gallon, all of a sudden I think people will really rethink their transit options. Fuel efficiency will, of course, top the news. But many people (not a majority, but many) will start to combine trips, reduce trips, walk, take public transit, or invest in alternative fuel vehicles. As this becomes more the norm, it will be a sort of tipping point as others see that lifestyle changes are not only possible, but also positive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was in London last summer and took the Oxford Tube out to Oxford for the weekend. It was incredible how fast, cheap, and easy it was. Loved it!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Some of the stuff we are introducing in Europe now works really well.
        At the edge of cities in the UK we now have park and ride parks, so you leave your car and for a couple of pounds ride a bus into the city centre and back.
        I went up to Oxford last weekend, and it was a great way to travel.
        Simply drive up the motorway, leave the car and then get taken straight into the centre.
        Hopefully we will manage to automate the motorways too sometime, as most people seem to have a death wish, which is fine as long as it does not involve me!
      • 4 Years Ago
      In other news, the sky is blue!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Working in the efficiency business, I find this part of the human psychology intriguing. With all the information that is out there about energy costs rising and the near future rising more rapidly, people don't see energy trends as something to plan for they look at current prices and make their choice based on the here and now. When I worked at an all German car dealership in late 2007, with fuel prices past $4/gal, some guy tried to trade in a 6 month old Ford F-250 diesel, lifted with huge monster mudders. He paid $60,000 for it and Blue Book said trade in value was $20,000. 6 months old, $40,000 loss. When fuel demand dropped, due to the economy, the price of fuel dropped too, plummeted actually, and that truck sold later for $45,000. When the price of gas dropped people rushed out to buy SUV's, trucks, and RV's. Instead of planning for the future people are just setting themselves up to fail again. During this time they could have saved up to or more than $100 in fuel cost that's $1200 a year.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The hit effect on people buying fuel inefficient new vehicles will come via depreciation.
        Even the guy who buys a truck like this as the second owner can probably afford the petrol, but the third owner would find it more difficult.
        That leads to rapid depreciation.
        Another $10k fall in your s/h price when you come to sell hurts.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree the psychology is odd, but what's $1200 a year difference in the fuel bill to some dude that pays 60k for a truck set up to play in the mud?
        • 4 Years Ago

        good story. You'd think that at some point people would get the idea that gas prices are going to fluctuate upward for the remaining use of fossil fuel. But big truck buyers like the example unfortunately don't think very far ahead of... tomorrow.

        OTOH, the dramatic interest in EVs from thousands of Volt and Nissan and Tesla customers indicates there are plenty of people who DO plan ahead. These may also include the warehouse shopper Costco types who know it's cheaper to plan and buy ahead than to wait for last minute fixes.
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