Interest in small cars shifts to crossovers as gas prices decline

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

A gas price of $4 apparently is the critical mark for Americans to shop for smaller and much more fuel efficient cars. Below that mark, car shoppers apparently have enough tolerance to at least look into crossover SUVs, Edmunds.com said.

The website said that visitor data on its site showed that interest small vehicles is leveling off, and interest in previously declining segments, such as compact crossover SUVs, is on the rise. Even interest in the popular hybrid segment is down 34% compared to June as gas prices have declined.

“There’s been a rush to small cars, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the shift is permanent,” said Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com. “Automakers made some big changes in their production plans based on what happened during the second quarter. Clearly gasoline prices will continue to climb in the long term, but our data calls into question whether consumers’ current preferences will continue in the long-term.”

“High gas prices caused consumers to temporarily forget their other vehicle requirements and consider only fuel efficiency,” said Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for the site. “With the initial shock fading and gas prices now declining, consumers are again viewing gas consumption as one of many factors when considering their next vehicle.”