Cheap Gas Makes Car-Buyers Lose Their Short-Term Memory

Image courtesy of (Freaktography)

It wasn’t that long ago that Americans were sneering at SUVs and clamoring for compact, hybrid, and compact hybrid cars. That was years ago, though, and you can’t expect adults to remember things that happened during the period that they’ve owned their current car. That’s why shoppers now aren’t giving much thought to fuel economy.

Today’s SUVs use less fuel than my 11-year-old sedan, and they definitely consume less gas than the SUVs of decades past, but do you know what’s even more efficient? Smaller cars. One car dealer group CEO mused to Boston station WBZ that it’s as if car buyers don’t think long-term.

“We couldn’t give away SUVs,” he said. “And everyone was trading in their Chevy Suburban for a Toyota Camry or Toyota Corolla or a Toyota Prius, and they were worth nothing.” Maybe they don’t have to think long-term if they’re looking into a three-year lease instead of purchasing a vehicle, but changing trends mean that even prices for used SUVs are high right now.

On the other hand, you can probably get a great price on a used Prius. The important thing is to think long-term: calculate how much you’d be paying for gas with your current driving habits if prices doubled tomorrow. If the amount would break your budget or just frustrate you, consider a lighter vehicle.

Car Buyers Rethinking Choices As Gas Prices Drop [WBZ]