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The More You Pay, The More You Panic


The more you pay for gasoline, it seems, the more you're likely to panic and rush out looking for some quick fix - or so suggest the results from a new survey by CNW Marketing.

Until prices hit around $3 a gallon, there was virtually no impact on consumer buying decisions, the study finds. But suddenly, at $3.25, buyers started thinking about fuel-efficient alternatives.

Among "new car intenders," those getting close to making a purchase, one out of five said $3.25 gas would have them buy a higher-mileage vehicle immediately, while nearly one in three would buy something more fuel-efficient "eventually." With many experts predicting gas will hit $4.50, the impact is far more dramatic. More than three in four would buy a high-mileage model immediately, and more than four in five would switch eventually.

A full 63 percent of the general American motoring public say $4.50 gas will lead them to drive "somewhat less," while 53 percent will drive "significantly less."

According to the CNW poll conducted last month, environmentalism has its price. At $3 or less, essentially no one wanted the government to permit drilling for oil in the ANWAR preserve. At $3.25, however, more than half said the feds should approve drilling. And at $4.50? A full 96 percent said the heck with those penguins and polar bears.

CNW has conducted its survey for several years, and it's clear that perceptions are relative. With $4 gas already a reality, $3.25 seems a veritable bargain. But a year ago, when $2.75 was the norm, consumers already seemed to be panicking. Back then, a solid majority said they'd be ready to trade in immediately if prices hit $3.75. And even at $3.25, most motorists would have been ready to open up the ANWAR reserves.

But there's a growing sense that consumers have finally hit a wall when it comes to fuel prices. Ford marketing chief Jim Farley described May as a "watershed month," and most manufacturers are now preparing major shifts in their product plans, away from big trucks and toward fuel-efficient crossovers and passenger cars. Whether the shift in the public mood will play in favor of those who want to expand offshore and Arctic oil drilling, however, remains to be seen.
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Comments (6)
  1. Unleaded prices in Australia have hit the equivalent of US$6 per gallon. Our current average new vehicle fuel efficiency is around 8.5L/100km or 27mpg. Which is not a mile away from that in the US.....and it sure as heck hasn't changed much in the last two years despite the madly increasing fuel prices.
    Given that US & Oz are that different in geographic size, level of urbanisation and general vehicle behaviour then I suspect that US might learn a lesson as to what might happen when your own fuel costs approach this level....the answer (not much) might surprise
     
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  2. The difference between the US & Australian car market is quite remarkable. Our car sales here in Australia are at an all-time high and are running at about double the 1992 levels. In the US, sales are at their lowest since 1992! SUV sales are also at an all-time high here, and continue to increase. The same holds true for pickup trucks, which are more popular now than ever. It seems that despite our fuel costing more than in the US, the opposite is happening here. Of course, Australians travel less distance per year so are not as affected by rising prices (our average is about 15,000 km/year compared to something like 25,000 a year in the US, apparently).
     
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  3. 15,000 km/year is about 9,300 miles. In the US we average considerably more. I would guess 20,000 miles/year or about 32,000 km. Big Difference.
    I put a little over 27,000 miles on our family car this past year. About 43,450 km.
     
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  4. 10,000 miles per year is supposed to be the US average, last I heard. Are people traveling more? Or is that just what the insurance company assumes for personal use unless you tell them otherwise?
    Personally, I drive about 5k / year, as I work from home, and have some public transportation options.
    That photo is out of date for my city - 4.50 for regular unleaded is on the cheap side now!
    I am thrilled to have a Corolla, with its minimum 30mpg.
     
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  5. I think the average American puts 12-15k miles a year on their vehicles. PG and I are exceptions, he drives too much (27,000 miles) and I too l,ittle (3,000-5,000 miles), my commute is only 1.5 miles if i drive, but I can walk a shortcut and it is only 1 mile.
     
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  6. the heck with those penguins and polar bears? you are one misinformed sob. there are no penguins in alaska, or in the northern hemisphere for that matter. if you wanted to ask the bears opinion on weather or not he opposes drilling anwar just ask one of the many who live less than half a mile from the northslope oil well that has been operating for nearly 40 years. yeah they are still alive despite our best efforts to kill them with inhumane oil drilling.
    1. you arnt an alaskan, so who the fuck cares what you think about what we should do in our state.
    2. opening anwar for drilling will do the environment about as much harm as taking a piss in the ocean.
    3. stfu
     
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