Edmunds’ always dead-on Autoobserver brings us the shocking news that Americans don’t drive enough. That, or they use the wrong cars. Whatever it may be, Americans are about to lose the carefully cultivated title “world’s biggest gasoline oinkers.” Gasoline consumption hit rock bottom in July!
“U.S. demand for gasoline last month was at its lowest for July in a decade as the slower-than-expected economic recovery appeared to cause many people to either cut back on driving or buy more fuel-efficient cars. U.S. refinery gasoline production in July dropped 2.3 percent from a year earlier, marking the first year-over-year drop for 2011, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said in a report released late last week.”
There are multiple reasons for people taking a pass on gas. Let’s investigate.
“Gasoline demand relative to previous summers appeared to be hindered by a stubbornly high unemployment rate,” says Edmunds. Aha! We aren’t prudent, we’re po!
“Consumers aren’t spending, and jobless claims have increased, so it isn’t surprising gasoline demand was down and overall demand slipped a bit,” John Felmy, Chief Economist at the petroleum-pushing institute moaned.
Horrible: Not only do Americans buy less gasoline, they also save on overalls! What’s next? A resurgence of streaking?
Americans indeed develop nasty habits: They buy miserly cars, and – OMG! – they drive less. Over to you, Edmunds:
“Americans appear to have increased purchases of four-cylinder cars, even as deliveries for many small-engined models from Japanese automakers such as Toyota and Honda were hindered by the tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan in March. General Motors’ Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan accounted for 10 percent of the automaker’s unit sales through July, while Ford Focus unit sales increased 7.3 percent and the relaunched Fiesta sales were way up.”
Subcompacts aren’t taking over America – yet. According to Edmunds, they “accounted for 4.7 percent of U.S. vehicle purchases during the first seven months of the year.” But there is a nasty little trend:
“Sub compact sales are up from 3.6 percent a year earlier, while the propensity to buy entry level SUVs and luxury cars as well as large trucks are down this year, according to statistics compiled by Edmunds.com. So while consumers may be responding to economic signals that are mixed at best, car-buying habits may be tilting as well.”
That’s not all. Americans are giving up their hard-earned freedom of driving anywhere, anytime, anyfar. Edmunds.com Chief Economist Lacey Plache paints a grim picture:
“We have been in an economic soft patch this summer. There is quite likely decreased demand for driving vacations and other non-essential driving due to higher gas prices since late February and due to still weak economic conditions.”
We can’t have that, Best & Brightest. Stop what you are doing. Cease reading immediately (even TTAC – it’s for a good cause.) Hop in your car, warm up that engine before starting, drive like Jack, and for Pete’s sake – fill ‘er up on your way home!
Take the scenic route.