For three straight weeks, the average gas price in North America has been dropping and it is expected to continue in months to come.
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Drivers in South Carolina are being treated to gas prices below $3 a gallon, something that might even creep into other parts of the country.
Consumer preferences are taking a clear step towards efficient gas consumption according to a new study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.
March saw several manufacturers set new sales records, which in turn pushed the average fuel consumption of every car sold to a record high 24.1 miles per gallon.
Gas prices have been driving automakers, and more importantly consumers, to be increasingly concerned with how much a fill-up costs. In March, the average gas consumption of every car sold was 24.1 mpg, a small jump from the previous months 23.9 mpg, but a very significant difference from the October 2010 average of 20.1 mpg.
The push for higher mpg cars is a recent craze, illustrated by the fact that the average of 22 mpg did not change between October, 2009 and September, 2011. Only in the last eight months has the average has been steadily climbing, starting at 22.2 last September and now finding itself at 24.1.
While the trend towards increased fuel efficiency is on everyone’s mind, it will be interesting in the coming years to see just how far automakers will stretch engine technology to save at the pump.
Gas prices always hit a spike in the summer, and this year is shaping up to be a doozy with prices likely to pass $4.00 per gallon by Memorial Day.
With fuel costs jumping to such dramatic heights, it might feel like a logical decision to jump ship on your current car for something less thirsty. Smart as that seems, an article published in Forbes proves otherwise.
The truth is, a car that gets a few mpg better than what you’re driving now would amount to a few dollars in savings but nothing substantial to most people.
“Assuming the average consumer drives 12,000 miles per year in a vehicle that gets 20 mpg, an increase of $1.00 per gallon, from $3.60 to $4.60 per gallon as an example, would only result in an approximate increase of $11.50 per week in fuel expenses,” Alec Gutierrez, senior market analyst of automotive insights for Kelley Blue Book told Forbes.
Moving from a full-size SUV to a something significantly smaller is the only instance where trading cars in favor of fuel economy yields noticeable savings, but it’s important to consider that most people driving larger cars do it for a reason. It will be tough moving the whole family around in a Fiat 500 when you become accustomed to your Chevrolet Suburban.
The move is still difficult to justify if you’re one of the people who bought an SUV just to have one. High-milage hybrid cars come at a premium because of the new technology they rely on. Even if you get lucky and trade that Ford Explorer in for a decent rate, you’re still probably going to pay a lot — both at signing and in installments.
Even if it means buying a couple new handkerchiefs to dab away the tears as you fuel up, it’s probably not cost-effective to make the car trade unless you’re in the market anyway.
The American Petroleum Institute has reported that total petroleum deliveries fell by 0.5 percent in July, compared to the same month one year ago. This was the first time deliveries have decreased for any month this year. As well, gasoline demand hit a ten-year low for the month of July.
John Felmy, API chief economist, said, “The numbers, though mixed, confirm continuing weakness in the economy. Consumers aren’t spending, and jobless claims have increased, so it isn’t surprising gasoline demand was down and overall demand slipped a bit”. It was also interesting that U.S refinery production of gas decreased for the first time in 2011, down by 2.3 percent from July 2010. However, on a year-to-date basis, gasoline production remains on par to set a record.
Wal-Mart is rolling back gas prices just in time for the Fourth of July driving weekend. The retailer is offering ten cents off a gallon at Wal-Mart and Murphy USA stations if purchased with a reloadable Wal-Mart gift card, MoneyCard or a Wal-Mart credit card.
The discount gas is available until September 30th, but is limited to only 18 states. Americans feel very strongly about having cheaper gas which has become apparent with fuel becoming a budget concern just like household and grocery items in homes across the country.
“Our customers have told us that high gas prices are a top budget concern, nearly as large an expense to their households as food and groceries,” said Stephen Quinn, chief marketing officer. “We listen to our customers and because we know they are feeling squeezed by gas prices, we’re implementing this gas [price] rollback to help them save, especially during high travel summer months.”
Wal-Mart will be discounting gas in the following states: Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
[Source: USA Today]
With the recent recession and high fuel prices, car buyers are placing a higher priority on fuel efficiency. To save at the pump, buyers are willing to sacrifice purchase, price, amenities and size but not safety, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center.
1,764 random adult car owners were interviewed between April 28-May 2, 2011 regarding car buying and fuel economy issues. The surveyed said that nearly twice as many consumers expected to choose a model with much better or somewhat better fuel economy(62 percent) relative to those who are targeting about the same fuel economy (32 percent).
Survey respondents expect their next car should deliver an average of 29 mpg. More than 10 percent said they expect 40 mpg or better in their next car.
It was also interesting to note that only 17 percent of those interviewed will buy a car next year. As well, the state of the economy played a factor causing a significant shift in the age of the average car driven by respondents has increased by eight years.
With America’s passenger cars continuing to age, less than a fifth or car owners will look to replace their car any time soon. When buying a new car, fuel economy will be the deciding factor. To reach increased fuel economy, shoppers will compromise on size and even consider paying more for a diesel or hybrid.
|New car||Used car|
|Pay more for fuel-efficient car||58%||49%|
|Compromise amenities or comfort||44||54|
|Compromise size or capacity||47||48|
[Source: Consumer Reports]
Fuel prices are on the rise and car shoppers are reacting fast. With recent unrest in oil-producing nations causing one of the largest two-week spikes in oil prices in history, consumers are already adapting their buying habits according to a survey and report by Automotive News.
In February small car sales totaled 15 percent of the market – the largest percentage for the segment ever. Meanwhile, pickup trucks fell 13 percent during the month, with SUVs dropping 9 percent.
In a poll of dealers, 57 percent said shoppers wanted to get out of a gas guzzler, while 56 percent said more buyers were actually choosing to buy more fuel efficient cars. (AN does, however, admit its poll is less than scientific).
Supporting that poll is one from Kelly Blue Book, which shows 81 percent of consumers citing the price at the pump as an influence on their choice of a new car – up from 70 percent in January.
Dealers surveyed are not changing what vehicles they order though, with a better mix of models on their lots than when oil last spike in 2008. This extends not only to the Japanese automakers, but also to the domestic ones, with companies like GM and Ford having learned some lessons, introducing more fuel efficient models in the past few years.
[Source: Automotive News]