Gas prices would have to get pretty high to really affe... Gas prices would have to get pretty high to really affect people's habits (mroach, Flickr).
More than one third of car shoppers say that gas prices will have to top $6.51 before they would consider buying a more fuel efficient vehicle, according to a recent survey obtained by AOL Autos.

The Autotrader.com survey reveals that many Americans have grown numb to the constant drumbeat of higher gas prices, says Rick Wainschel, AutoTrader vice president, automotive insights.

"People are coming to grips with higher prices of gas," Wainschel said. "They are concerned with fuel prices, but they expect gas prices to remain high."

While most consumers say a new vehicle's fuel efficiency is important, saving money and helping the environment was not the top reason for buying a new vehicle, the survey showed.

Furthermore, the price of fuel would have to rise considerably before many would seriously consider a vehicle that got better fuel economy.

According to the survey:

-19 percent said they would need gas prices to be $4 and $4.50 for them to change their buying habits

-7 percent said it would have to be $4.51 and $5

-18 percent said it would have to be between $5 and $5.50

-11 percent said it would have be $5.51 and $6

-10 percent said it would have to be $6 and $6.50

-35 percent said it would have to be over $6.51

"The mindset is shifting," Wainschel said.

Other industry experts said other factors could come into play when it comes to pain at the pump, such as when consumers see their single tank filling top $100.

"People are getting accustomed to high gas prices and are adjusting the way they spend their money," said Eric Lyman, vice president at ALG, which is part of TrueCar.com. In 2008, when gas prices spiked to over $4 a gallon, which spurred big sales in fuel efficient cars.

"That was a shock to the system, and it directly impacted consumer behavior," Lyman said.

This time, however, the prices have slowly grown higher and higher. GasBuddy.com predicts that the national average for a gallon of gas could climb to as high as $4.35 by the end of April. According the Gasbuddy.com's website, the national average is $3.92 per gallon.

And while consumers may have grown apathetic toward higher gas prices, some say the rising price of gas is helping carmakers sell even more vehicles.

Aaron Bragman of IHS Automotive used the example of a person who owns a five year old Buick Park Avenue that gets 26 mpg trading it in for a 2012 LaCrosse with eAssist that gets 36 mpg.

"That's a 40 percent increase and something people will notice immediately in their pocketbook," he said.

Additionally, Bragman points out that the average age of a vehicle on the road is older than ever before and those less efficient vehicles are likely to be swapped out for more efficient models, no matter what type of vehicle the consumer chooses.

"There are a lot of reasons the new car market is doing so well right now," Bragman said.

Credit has loosened up, trade in values are high and the used car prices are extremely high. All of that is likely to push more people into a new car.

Wainshel is equally as optimistic.

"Things are improving and consumer confidence in the future is one of the reasons we're seeing such strong sales," he said.

But don't expect the floodgates to open for highly efficient small cars. That segment will grow, but it won't be only because of high gas prices. Not until those prices get really high.

Consumers are just used to it.



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  • 495 Comments
      NKS55S
      • 2 Years Ago
      People in America are defiant and are their own worst enemys with a lack of self responsibility will not change their driving habits no matter what the government does or will not do. Some people would rather blame the government and cry me,me,me instead of taking responsibility for their own personal affordability instead its always someone elses fault for their sort commings and they expect the government to bail them out no matter how frivalouse they send. Just like Obama KEEPS RAISING THE DEBT CEILING spending money the government has none of printing more money devaluing the dollar . America the land of entitlements me.me.mees my rights its the goverenments fault we aea not all millionares . But the people keep blamming eveything on someone or something but not themselves for their own affordability.
      BEN
      • 2 Years Ago
      Friends and sponsors of the gop are making billions on the gas profits and the gop is laughing all the way to the bank. The oil companies and the investors are being encouraged to keep the prices up by the gop and then they can blame Obama when in fact the gop is the guilty party. The gop voted down stopping the oil subsidies Obama tried to pass and now they are yelling it is Obamas fault and their stupid and gullible followers chant their hypocrisy.
      kharmah21
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think the flip side is this...I am one year away from paying off my vehicle, which gets roughly 24 mpg. If I trade it in now I will have approx 6 more years of a car payment, plus the cost of gas. Granted, once I pay my vehicle off that I have now I will probably have to spend more money on repairs, but unless something major happens like the transmission or motor going in it, it's still cheaper to keep it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      There are way too many cars in the world today. Thousands or cars are made everyday and it will continue that way because oil and car makers don't want to see a loss in profit. There needs to be an alternative fuel source and not just putting a band-aid over it with fuel efficient vehicles.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Since October I have been regularly traveling between Dallas, Texas to Laredo, Texas. When I first started I was amazed that the gas in Dallas was twenty cents cheaper than Laredo, now this last trip has me skeptical that gouging hasn't become the norm because now Laredo is running forty cents lower than Dallas. I don't know if Mr Perry is trying to get back the money that he wasted making Texas the laughing stock of politics, or some other deal is going down
      • 2 Years Ago
      Make's no sense to me. Household income and distance driven to work ( if you have to drive at all ) should matter here right? Not just 'the survey says that this percentage of people say this or that...' Totally useless. More of a 'what's your guilt and self hatred quotient?' and 'what'll it take to get YOU into a hybrid?'. If I work a half mile away from home, I'll be driving my tank to work thank you very much. I wish for every tree hugg'er ad like this I've seen I could hear about how we're doing on rebuilding our woefully inadequate commuter rail and bus transportation infrastructure. Not that I'm against efficient transportation. When EV's come down about another $5,000, I'll be tempted to buy one. Why? because they run at about the equivalent of 133MPG. Why they are not taking off yet is beyond me.
      ROCCO 'D' FRANCO
      • 2 Years Ago
      HEY I ALREADY CHANGED MY HABITS YEARS AGO, WHAT ABOUT US??????????????
      wallymundo
      • 2 Years Ago
      A few years ago I sent out and email, Jokingly attached an 2015 auto show with nothing but Bicycles. My Joke may have been a premonition. Needless to say I recently bought a bicycle with a small folding trailer for shopping errands to the grocery store. A new car is out of the question, I'll keep my 24 year old wagon.
      nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      it doesnt matter how many miles to a gallon you with fuel thats 90% gas and 10% ethanol you are not really getting the milage you are suppoed to get and you seem to be filling up more often cars got better milage when the fuel was 100% gas they need to take out the enthanol and the care will get better milage
      LINDA KAY
      • 2 Years Ago
      WELL....WHERE IS THE ECONOMY WHEN U SPEND $30,000.00 FOR FUEL EFFICENT CAR AND WHERE AND WHEN DOES THE PERSON BREAK EVEN??? PAYING FOR THE NEW CAR FOR A FEW MILES PER GALLON BETTER MILEAGE, DOES NOT MAKE SENSE TO ME......U WOULD NOT SEE THE MPG SAVINGS UNTIL THE CAR WAS PAID OFF AND THAT WOULD BE MANY YRS DOWN THE ROAD UNLESS THE PERSON PAID CASH UP FRONT.......I WILL NOT GET ANOTHER CAR BECAUSE OF GAS GOING UP, UP, UP...MY CAR IS PAID OFF AND I DO NOT WANT ANOTHER CAR PAYMENT,...I WILL RETIRE IN SEVERAL YRS AND I HAVE NO INTENTION ON GETTING ANOTHER ONE,,,I GET ABOUT 17 MILES PER Gallon intown and for me that is good enuff,....thank u very much !!!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Any one that thinks Obama is the reason gas prices are surging needs to take off their blinders.The republicans in the house just shot down the proposal Obama sent to congress to eliminate taxpayer subsides for oil company's.The problem is that Big Oil has donated hundreds of millions to our corrupt politicians and they will never push back against big oil-GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!!!!!
      rayrmelc123
      • 2 Years Ago
      Impeach Obama
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