High Gas Prices Not Deterring Automotive Buyers From Choosing SUVs, Trucks

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Despite ever increasing gas prices, buyers still aren't changing their automotive preferences when it comes to choosing a new car.  According to AutoPacific's new "Fuel Price Impact Survey," many consumers still want trucks or SUVs, even in the face of higher gas prices than in summer 2010. 

While small cars promise high fuel economy, only 16% of respondents said they plan to purchase one for their next vehicle.  About 25% of drivers surveyed still want an SUV or crossover for their next vehicle. The percentage wanting a pickup, 14%, is virtually unchanged compared with drivers surveyed in July 2010, when gas prices were significantly lower: $3.637 a gallon today vs. $2.781 a year ago, according to AAA.

CHANGING DRIVING HABITS, NOT PURCHASE INTENTIONS

Instead of changing what they plan to purchase, drivers say they are changing their driving habits to deal with higher fuel prices. In fact, 41% say they are combining trips in the car.  A surprising number, however, say they are sticking to their preferred vehicles and engines even when gas prices spike.  This is due in part to the fact that automakers are finding ways of making existing vehicles more fuel-efficient, a process that will be required as federal gas-mileage requirements grip even tighter.

About 23% of July 2011 respondents say they want a four-cylinder engine in their next vehicle — identical to July 2010. Moreover, 15% still want a V‑8 engine, only a 2‑percentage-point drop from July 2010.

[Source:  "Fuel Price Impact Survey."  AutoPacific.  8 Aug. 2011.  Web.  20 Aug. 2011.]