According to a study by the Consumer Federation of America (PDF), relatively low gas prices haven’t done much to change consumer trends towards more fuel-efficient vehicles. This revelation comes amid claims that small car demand was artificially inflated by high gas prices and increased truck production from General Motors. The survey asked respondents to rate the importance of gas prices, global warming and US dependence on Middle East oil over the next five years, with 76 percent reporting “great concern” for gas prices and energy independence.
“Despite pump prices averaging less than $2.00, Americans still plan to significantly increase the fuel economy of their cars when they make their next purchase,” concludes CFA Public Affairs Director Jack Gillis. Pointing out that only 1.4 percent of new car models for sale in the US get over 30mpg, the CFA argues that automakers will be hard pressed to woo car shoppers who seem convinced that Gas will reach $3 per gallon before their next purchase. “At least to date, Americans view low gas prices as an aberration,” says Gillis. “Expecting higher gas prices in the future, they are adjusting their driving habits as well as planning to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles. Stronger fuel efficiency standards not only respond to clear consumer expectations but will be critical to the survival of the U.S. auto industry.”