The Connection Between Falling Gas Prices And Rising SUV sales
With gas prices down a buck or more from where they were six months ago, more buyers are looking at vehicles with more powerful engines: pick-ups, SUV's and crossovers.
That doesn't necessarily mean that consumers are celebrating with gas-guzzler purchases, according to Karl Brauer, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book.
“Well see the demand rise for SUVs, but we’re also seeing better fuel efficiency out of all of those types of vehicles. So that’s one big shift: buying a SUV doesn’t mean the same level of fuel bill that it used to mean.”
Analysts say continued low interest rates, rising consumer confidence and pent-up demand are also driving new car sales.
Small compacts are also seeing a boost. Tom Mock is spokesman for GM-Lordstown, the plant that builds the popular Chevy Cruze…which gets up to 42 miles per gallon on the highway.
“We just really have no plans to curtail or do any type of shifting with our production of the Cruze right now," he says. "In 2014, sales (were) up approximately 10 percent. And also right here at Lordstown, we built 290,000 Cruzes last year.”
Mock says last year was the best year ever for Cruze sales.
Among the top 10 selling cars in the U.S. last year, 7 were compact or mid-size vehicles.