Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), may think that $4.50 gas is the point when consumer interest will shift towards more fuel efficient-rides, but Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, says that the tipping point is more like $4 a gallon. While speaking at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant – site of production for the North American-spec 2012 Focus – Fields stated:
With regular unleaded gasoline hitting an average of $3.53 a gallon in the U.S., up some 27 percent over prices paid at the pump this same time last year, Fields says that the launch of the Focus, which in SE sedan with the SFE (super fuel economy) package returns 40 miles per gallon highway, couldn't have come at a better time. From Ford's perspective, it's not only the Focus that may benefit from rising gas prices. Sales of Ford's quartet of 40-mpg rated vehicles, which the automaker refers to as its "Four in the Forties," could be aided by soaring pump prices.There is a natural kind of water level that if a gallon of gas goes over, that may shift the market mentality. When it starts getting over $4 a gallon or gets to triple digits when you fill up your tank, that catches people's attention.