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New Car Shoppers More Affected By Rising Gas Prices (What They Buy)


2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

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Stretching the family budget has never seemed more challenging, that is, if you’re trying to allocate what’s coming in to accommodate everything going out.

Factor in costs for lodging, utilities, food, clothing, educational expenses and some other necessities, and there’s not much wiggle-room when it comes to the family car purchase.

Make that, the purchase of a new family car.

Two recent surveys shed a little light on just what some Americans told the surveying entities about how they’re feeling the pinch (or not) of escalating gas prices. Our colleagues at GreenCarReports cite an Auto Pacific survey that found car shoppers not too bothered by the current high gas prices. Indeed, 42 percent said they wouldn’t change the type of vehicle they drive, even if gas hit $10 a gallon.

Gas prices in California [photo: Charlene Birkeland]

Gas prices in California [photo: Charlene Birkeland]

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However, as Richard Read points out in TheCarConnection, another of our sister publications, the recent survey by Kelley Blue Book (KBB) paints an entirely different picture. Sixty-six percent told KBB that they “have either changed their minds about which vehicle they are considering, or are thinking about vehicles they normally would not have considered, due to rising gas prices.”

And, as we reported in January, J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 Avoider Study found that gas mileage is the number one driver for vehicle purchases today.

Here’s what we know. With the average car price at $30,000, forking out $4.43 and up per gallon (in California and other parts of the U.S.) and looking at even higher fuel prices come summer, means we’ll probably have to get very creative at parsing out household dollars, combine more errands, drive less, and, if we’re in the market for a new vehicle, choose one that’s as fuel-efficient as possible and still meets our needs.

2012 Toyota Prius V

2012 Toyota Prius V

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Yes, some of us may plunk down money and buy a 2012 Toyota Prius v, or a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, or a 2013 Ford Focus Electric, or any of a growing selection of hybrid, mild hybrid, or pure electric vehicles. Then, again, gasoline-powered family cars are becoming more and more fuel efficient. There are plenty of choices available to suit family needs.

2012 Ford Focus Electric

2012 Ford Focus Electric

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What do you think? Is the pain at the pump really putting a crimp in your family budget? Specifically, are higher gas prices going to impact what you buy when it comes time to replace your current car, wagon, crossover, SUV or minivan? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Comments (3)
  1. I will keep my SUV because I need it for pulling a small RV. I will also keep my Lumina 95 model for awhile. My next car will be electric to offset the use of the SUV.
     
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  2. Fred, it sounds like you've got this figured out. Thanks for sharing your comments.
     
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  3. I know that I will not part with my truck once it is paid for as there are always a need for towing or hauling. However, once it is paid for I will be scanning the market for the most fuel efficient vehicle that meets my needs for daily use.
     
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