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 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.
What would gas have to cost for you to consider buying a more fuel efficient vehicle?
Between $4.51 and $5 8390 (53.0%)
Between $5 and $5.50 3167 (20.0%)
Between $5.51 and $6 1157 (7.3%)
Between $6 and $6.50 643 (4.1%)
More than $6.51 2464 (15.6%)

"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 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. 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'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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      I doubt if that is true, once the hit $4 I think you will see a dramatic slow down of driving. As it climbs towards $5 people will stop spending to afford the fuel they need. As it closes in on $6 Many people will be out of work because of severe cutbacks in consumer spending. There fore the will not be able to afford a new car because we'll be in a major depression.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bannana98, Not steam. Stanley Meyer's car takes water and seperates the hydrogen from the oxygen molecule and burns the hydrogen gas. See You Tube "Stanley Meyer's water powered car. The US government has his technology classified.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Time for the current younger generation to put brain in gear, get rid of the emotional baggage, and DO what it takes in practical terms to make Stanley Meyer's water powered cars a reality??? Japan already has one! Burn water, and continue to use oil for the thousands of products now being made and do R&D for even more new useful products? Why not!?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why doesn't our great federal goverment stop the shipping of fuel overseas, they ship more fuel over sea then we sell in our own country, these producers of fuel are so concerned about our own people stop shipping for more money and lower the price in our country, I don't think they are real americans!!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      The President of the United States has absolutely NOTHING to do with oil prices, NOTHING! Blame somebody else, but it is not Obama's fault, nor can he change anything.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Gas prices are too damn high no matter what kind of car you drive ---period. Unless the carmakers are gonna come off these overinflated prices on the cars and there is complete debt forgiveness offered to me, I'll have to stick with the car I've got til the wheels fall off no matter how high gas prices go. Sucks, too, 'cause I really want a new car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The pirce of gas should be by right $1.72 The oil cmpanies robbers are doing this to America I do not know how much longer the people are going to stand for this. Who is kidding who..... There is no need to purchace a sub standard vehicle.
      • 3 Years Ago
      just what OBAMA wants...
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's costing me around 95$ for a fill-up now. For some hard working Americans in business retail who haven't made it to management level experience yet; that puts a MAJOR dent in their wallter. Nearly an entire quarter of their check that comes once every two weeks depending on what store you may work at. Now how can the average American survive with these kinds of rising gas prices? Even worse is that Obama says there is 'no reason' why prices should be going up like they are. With Katrina, they raised gas prices cause they knew people were traveling down to help aid in the cleanup. Talk about making a shady dollar huh? Now they are trying to use the Iranian conflict as an issue suggesting that the straight of Hormuz may be cut off hence limiting our supply. Guess what? It hasn't been cut off and it won't be cut off because the U.S. Navy would never allow that. And guess what, we only get around 14% of our oil from the middle-east, with the majority coming from Canada. So if most of our oil is coming from so close by here at home, why is it costing so much? They aren't having to ship it across seas and solar systems. And the 14% clearly indicated that we are mostly independent of oil from the middle-easet. Time to start opening our eyes and demanding change. Unfortunately, violence on the oil companies may be the only solution.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Can't afford to buy a new car just because gas prices are too high,but I can buy a bicycle,and just use the car only when I can't use the bike.Car payments would add to the cost of gas and create a double jeopardy.
      • 3 Years Ago
      oh i get it when Bush was in it was a $4 cutoff point but for obama its $6.50. u suck as usual aol.
      • 3 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.
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