By on October 22, 2014

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Falling fuel prices are helping to drive sales of SUVs and trucks as of late, but at the expense of more efficient, greener offerings.

Automotive News reports dealers flush with fuel efficient and alternative fuel models are dropping truck-month style incentives on the hood to help move them off the lot. KBB.com notes that the Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max alone have seen increased incentives, with the latter jumping from $2,650 last September, to $4,900 this past September.

Meanwhile, strengthening fuel efficiency targets may lead to automakers producing vehicles that, according to Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Eric Ibarra, “consumers don’t want to buy” should gasoline and diesel prices remain low. Per forecasts by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the decrease in fuel costs will remain in play for at least another year, thanks to the oil boom in places like Alberta and North Dakota.

That said, dealerships aren’t too worried yet, believing consumers are ever-vigilant toward price spikes. Until then, SUVs and pickups will dominate the highways for another day.

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260 Comments on “Fuel Prices Leave Efficient, Greener Offerings On The Lot...”


  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    That’s why, as much as I really hate to say it, we need a $3.50 or $4 “floor” tax to kick in if gas prices drop below that. It just kills automotive product planning that we don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Although I agree with you on product planning to an extent but (1) oil drives all real growth and has since the early 20th century and (2) consumers already have hybrids and EVs to choose from but yet they don’t sell in great numbers. The ICE is still cheap and effective, and until a rival technology becomes cheaper and more effective it will continue to win out. Diesel is the obvious real choice to replace ICE but its already been regulated into oblivion for the masses.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        ICE = internal combustion engine, meaning that at a basic level its an engine that burns some sort of consumable to generate energy. Diesel is simply a different fuel to burn in an ICE as opposed to gasoline. Ethanol, LPG, and CNG are other fuels that an ICE can burn.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The long-term solution is electric, and not just because it’s so much more efficient than even the best ICE. It’s also a better technology for real-world driving needs. 0 rpm torque and nearly zero maintenance are the answers to a lot of consumers’ prayers. Batteries are expensive, but if that issue is mitigated the rest of the technology is super-cheap. Finally, it largely divorces the question of how cars are powered from the politics of any particular energy source.

        The “road trip” question that keeps dogging electrics will be answered for some buyers through range extenders and for others through rentals and car-shares of long-distance-capable vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I could see this if a cheap and plentiful supply of electricity were available, the range issue notwithstanding.

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            Cost per mile of electric is very low, much lower than the cost per mile of gasoline for a hybrid.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            But fully electric vehicles are not a mainstream technology. What happens when their are many more electric vehicles? Supply and demand will kick in if there is not a sufficient electric supply for both homes and cars.

            Electricity use is projected to grow by 29% by 2040, the paper does not make mention of cars of any kind. One would think mainstream EV use would add on to the 29% figure.

            http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/MT_electric.cfm

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            This is one reason so many people are beating the drum about developing various renewable technologies sufficiently that they are viable competitors. Yes, we will need more electricity to power electric cars, and it’s far from ideal (although would still represent a large net efficiency improvement) to just use the oil we currently use for cars to generate electricity. But if it becomes clear that (for example) we could cover many square miles of Arizona and New Mexico desert in solar panels in such a way that the solar electricity powered cars more cheaply than gas on an operating basis, then it would make sense to me to subsidize the capital cost of such a project.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            ‘Much lower’ is overstating the case. At 3.50, running a Prius works out to around 7 cents per mile.

            A Leaf runs about 3 miles/kWh. US average residential electricity price this summer was 13 cents, a saving of 2.7 cents per mile, which already isn’t to get excited about.

            Nobody buys average electricity though, Deliverance country coal juice at 9 cents does not the slightest bit of good if you live in one of the high tax greenbean meccas like California (18c) or New York (20c).

            Not saving much money there.

          • 0 avatar

            28-Cars-Later: Electricity use is projected to grow by 29% by 2040, the paper does not make mention of cars of any kind. One would think mainstream EV use would add on to the 29% figure.

            The population is projected to grow to that point by somewhere on the order of 70 million, which is about 22% growth. (In 2008 both the Census and Pew projected that the then 310 million would grow to 440 million by 2050 (80% of that growth due to immigration); I think that’s been revised downwards a bit.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            We have a glut of electric capacity–at night. One electric retailer in my area even has a “free nights” program where electricity between 10 PM & 6 AM costs nothing. If EVs are generally charged overnight, it actually lets the grid run more effectively.

            But how much more refining capacity do we have? People talk about how hard it is to build new power plants, but when was the last time a new refinery was built? At what point will we not be able to make enough gasoline?

            Also, I can always put solar panels on my home, but I’m not going to drill an oil well in my back yard and build a chemical plant in my garage. Last I checked, solar still costs about 50% more than grid power in my area (assuming the panels last 20 yr–if they last longer then the cost of their electricity is less). But even with solar’s higher cost, it’s still cheaper to run a car on it than gasoline.

            In all, supplying electricity is much simpler & less risky than supplying gasoline.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            cost per mile is only low because there is no gas tax on electricity.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            MBella,
            Gas taxes average 50 cents per gallon in the US. So like 20% of the cost. Not nearly enough to make up the difference to electricity.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          “The “road trip” question that keeps dogging electrics will be answered for some buyers through range extenders and for others through rentals and car-shares of long-distance-capable vehicles.”

          The road trip question is a red herring, perpetuated by small-minded people. The single car household is a pretty small minority, and it can be served, as mentioned, by rentals/sharing.

          For the vast numbers of the rest of us, most households have a “drive to work and back only” car and a “family car”. If we just replaced everyone’s “back and forth to work and around town” car with electric, we could all have a ICE road trip car to share the garage.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            The road trip question is a red herring. However, where’s my electric Silverado or F150? There’s an EV I’d buy.

          • 0 avatar

            The single car household is not a pretty small minority. 27% of households are single person. Of 76 million family households, 20 million have a single adult.

            http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p20-570.pdf

            Many family households with two adults have long commutes in opposite directions, or for other reasons either can’t afford two cars or can’t depend for one car on a range-limited vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            In the real world, it’s not a red herring. Plenty of people with two cars drive both of them beyond the daily range of an electric car on a regular basis. Having one car with a limited range will not work.

          • 0 avatar

            @FryLock

            Via motors keep promising a plug-in hybrid full size pickup. They are big on promises. Maybe one day soon you’ll get your wish.

            http://www.viamotors.com/vehicles/electric-truck/

            The truck looks admirably useful with the ability to provide 50 amps of power in locations where there is none will be useful to workers using power tools.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Electricity is fine. Batteries aren’t.

          It isn’t just expense. They’re bulky and by their very nature, they degrade more quickly than the car to which they are attached. And of course they need time to recharge.

          Tesla selling a few cars does not change this. Without a better battery or a replacement for same, EVs will remain far from ideal.

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            Sooner or later there will be enough battery powered vehicles out there that there will be a business case for a franchise business that deals exclusively on refurbishing and replacing battery packs for those vehicles. Like a eJiffy Lube.

        • 0 avatar
          OneAlpha

          No, the long-term solution is some sort of extremely small fusion reactor, coupled with a system that can split hydrogen directly from water, generating electricity to power a traction motor.

          After all, where does the electricity to put into those batteries in that electric car come from?

          Batteries don’t generate electricity, they just store it. The electricity has to come from a central source like a power plant – which burns fuel.

          So a pure electric car is still only a stopgap.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            You say burning fuel like it’s a bad thing. The problem is buying that fuel from third world despots who hate us. There’s not a thing wrong with burning American coal and methane.

            Only people who hate Americans would tell you otherwise.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Fusion reactors may or may not happen.

            In the meantime, we could double efficiency, even after transmission losses, just by moving the fuel-burning from individual ICEs to modern power plants.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            If you have a fusion reactor, don’t waste the energy splitting water–just use it to make the car go.

          • 0 avatar

            @Dan

            There is plenty wrong with burning American coal. The cleanest of the coal comes from Appalachia, and mining that coal, blowing the tops off of mountains, leaving the slag in the valleys where the streams used to be, has ruined a lot of lives, and despoiled a beautiful place.

            Further, carbon emissions and other pollutants, including mercury, are much greater for coal than other fuels.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            The coal gets burned one way or another. If we don’t burn it here, we export it and it gets burned in Asia or Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            @redav

            I meant split the water first to get deuterium for the reaction plasma.

            Worded it wrong there, I did.

        • 0 avatar

          My solution for range is to convert the empty service bays at many fuel stations to charging stations. Then, rather than owning the battery, you rent it. Make them a standard design that can be hot swapped and presto, range!

          For a more here and now solution, most range concerns are for limited days of travel. It would be a perfect time to rent. I’m baffled by how many people currently spend thousands of dollars more so the vehicle can be used for that one week a year vacation.

          • 0 avatar

            I make at least 15 trips annually that would be impossible in an electric. I also enjoy these trips, greatly, including the driving. I don’t want to have to think about having to rent, and I don’t want to have to worry about limits to range. And I don’t want to have to drive some boring rental car with a slushbox. I love my car.

          • 0 avatar

            David, I agree it would seem your particular situation warrants a different solution, or perhaps none at all and keep with what we have. I think a majority of Americans would get along great without a 200+ mile range car per charge. I we are honest, *most* of us can do less than 50, even more if we are permitted to charge at work. To be fair, I also think cycle-cars were a great idea that we have mostly passed over (*come on Elio!!!!*)

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          This will require a rethink of our relationship with the automobile. Perhaps it will work for my kids but many of my generation just aren’t down with the shared car models but times change and I think eventually you will be correct.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You wouldn’t share a car every day, just for those times when you need a bigger and/or longer-ranged vehicle. Our family takes a road trip once a year, usually for 10 days. I’d be happy to use a rental car for that trip if it meant both of our cars could be electric the other 355 days of the year. Unfortunately, the right electric cars aren’t available yet.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Our current government would have a real quandary if there were such a floor tax. On one hand, they hate real energy production and try to discourage it wherever and whenever possible. On the other hand, in order to get more of that sweet, sweet tax revenue, they need plentiful production to drive the price down and their share of the vig up, so they can not invest it in transportation infrastructure.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Chuckrs,
        You appear completely ignorant of the extraordinary increase in domestic oil and gas production in the US over the last 6 years.

        • 0 avatar
          chuckrs

          Vogo, not really. You’ll note the extraordinary curtailment of coal by the EPA and the increased difficulty of getting energy infrastructure maintained and repaired and extended, Keystone XL is only one example. Decreasing coal use is probably good, as long as you’ve made a provision for other real energy sources and power generation to support those sources. The alternative is rolling brownouts during weather extremes.

          Further, my point was about the perverse incentives such a floor tax might generate in government and industry. At least, perverse from this consumer’s point of view.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Wrong again, Chuckrs,
            US coal production has actually increased in the past several years, mostly due to Chinese demand.

            You’re correct that a floor tax would create perverse incentives, which is why simply raising the tax on gasoline to cover all the war efforts required to guarantee its supply is appropriate.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            VoGo I don’t know…14 years of war in the middle east and we continue to procure less and less oil from here. If we go back to Iraq en masse it seems to be due to the whole head chopping off bit versus oil.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Decapitations are sadly commonplace throughout the world. We only seem to care when they are near “our” oil.

    • 0 avatar
      drewtam

      The fuel companies would LOVE that. Regardless of world crude and refined prices, they will always sell at that floor price to maximize profit and minimize the amount paid in tax. Talk about market distortions.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        They would always sell at that floor price unless the price was higher. Which is the point of a floor….

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        That’s why a “floor” is wrong but a higher gas tax, plain and simple, is just right.

        Best-case scenario, there is already wiggle room between the market price of fuel and the fuel companies’ costs, and we are just redirecting some oil industry profits to infrastructure construction.

        Worst-case scenario, fuel prices go up just a bit (keep in mind that even a doubling of our current federal gas tax would add only another 18 cents/gallon).

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      No, we hate hearing it MORE than you hate saying it. Or you wouldn’t have said it. That kind of tax would ****over all already doing the right thing. Like driving a Geo Metro. Or hauling weight to the job site. It would be a cluster**** getting the tax to only hit the right targets.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Driving a Geo Metro is NEVER the right thing.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          A big drop in fuel prices isn’t going to cause many to drive bigger vehicles, but most will be driving more, and more often.

          But it would be similar to a temporary tax break or pay raise for most of us.

          But America was founded on the promise of cheap fuel. Urban sprawl, lack of mass transit infrastructure, etc. So let us have cheap fuel.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “America was founded on the promise of cheap fuel”

            LOL. America was founded in the eighteenth century. None of America was built on a cheap-fuel model until the LA buildout started in the 1930s, and it didn’t really take off until the 1950s. Now, just a very short portion of the country’s history later, the model is failing because of extremely heavy traffic and, yes, rising fuel prices, which are global in nature.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Unless we can turn back time and become Europe in a short amount of time, we’d be heavily $crewed in more ways than you can imagine.

            Right, not “founded”, but clearly you know what I meant.

            For now, cheap fuel keeps everything running smoothly. Not just here. We keep military bases in the Middle East, and our oil suppliers over there keep the USDollar relevant and in demand, in the Middle East and around the world.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        What do you mean “…doing the right thing?”

        Since when is there any sort of morality attached to what kind of car you drive?

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Since we realized that all those soldiers dying in the middle east are to guarantee to flow of imported oil.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            All right then, VoGo – easy fix.

            Since we’re sitting on more oil than we’ll ever be able to use (based on the fact that we’re continually refining our extraction technology to access previously-unattainable reservoirs of petroleum) we should start punching holes in every piece of American ground that’ll support the weight of a drilling rig.

            In about two years, gas would cost a quarter a gallon and nobody would give two flying fucks about MPGs.

            Problem solved – where’s the next one?

          • 0 avatar

            We aren’t importing much oil and most of what we import is actually Ethical Oil from Canada. All that Middle East thing is a legacy of President Carter, who has retired more than a generation ago.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            I’m on my second Afghan deployment…There ain’t a lot of oil wells over here. Might as well call it a war for heroin since that is the chief export. Hell historically natural resources are what wars get fought over. I wish it was a war for oil…I could get behind fighting for my right to drive a badass car. As it is it seems we are fighting for all the junkies out there. And it isn’t like Iraq is a huge exporter of crude to the US…looks like I spent 9 months there to defend what…China’s oil supply?

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Except the biggest US oil source is Canada, and a mere 5% from Iraq – we get nearly as much oil from Canada as we do from the *whole* of OPEC.

            Hell, we get more from Mexico than Iraq.

            (http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_a2_nus_ep00_im0_mbbl_m.htm)

            Also, er, it’s late 2014. Basically no US soldiers are fighting in the Middle East right now, let alone dying.

            “Blood for oil” was indefensibly ignorant of both actual motivations and effects in 2001; it’s even moreso now.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            mkirk,
            Thank you for your service; I’m glad you returned safe.

            We are in Afghanistan because we have been hunting first Al Queda, and now Taliban. We are doing that because of 9/11. 9/11 was caused by Al Queda’s anger over American troops in their holy land: Saudi Arabia/Mecca.

            Why were there US troops in Saudi? Not to guarantee our supply of sand.

        • 0 avatar

          OneAlpha,

          Your theory that drilling like crazy will push the price of oil and gas way down is flawed.

          The oil game has changed in the last 10 years or so. At one time we would expect OPEC to limit production when oil prices drop like prices are doing today. But they aren’t, they just keep pumping oil? Want to know why?

          OPEC would like to see oil go lower, below the cost of fracking or getting oil from Tar Sands. The US cost of oil production is high compared to saudi who just keep pumping at the same old cost they always have.

          Already financing for oil exploration is drying up because of low return on investment. If the price of oil continues to go down there will be no new fields found and US producers will be losing money. OPEC can sit this one out and wait for the US Supply to ease then they can regain the market they have lost to fracking/ tar sands/ North Sea.

          http://energyskeptic.com/2014/foreign-investment-in-shale-gas-is-drying-up/

          http://oilinvestingnews.com/12391-lower-oil-prices-forces-reassessment-of-us-shale-boom.html

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Sigivald,
            Oil is a fungible resource. I think you know that, and just put out these lies hoping for another fool to hop on board the ‘ignorance is bliss” bandwagon.

            What that means is that if Saudi Arabia stops pumping oil, then our economy is in the tank.

            Why else would the US have so many soldiers and bases in the gulf?

    • 0 avatar

      The floor tax is a no brainer, at least for those who want to reduce greenhouse emissions and those who want to reduce the money going to OPEC and Russia for oil. It would certainly help greatly with the product planning. One conservative group, headed by a former Republican Congressman from South Carolina and housed in George Mason University is pushing for a carbon tax to replace other forms of tax. Their rationale is market-based–to internalize the externalities of consumption of carbon-based fuels.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The logistics of such a tax would be painful. Too much work involved in making all of the constant tweaks to maintain this flat retail price that you’re attempting to achieve.

        It also creates a budgetary problem for governments. They use those taxes; if the cost of the underlying good escalates and they are forced to respond with a tax cut on the fuel, then they must scramble to find that lost revenue somewhere else. So it won’t be cost neutral to consumers anyway.

        If you want to use fuel prices to reduce consumption, then you just need to jack up the tax. But that would be political suicide, opposed by politicians of both major parties. Higher gas taxes give both liberals and conservatives something to hate.

      • 0 avatar

        Taxing behaviour you don’t want is akin to a sin tax on alcohol and tobacco. It’s dumb.

        Instead of punishing folks for buying gas, why not increase incentives to drive more efficient cars or buy alternative fuel cars?

        Given the choice between more taxes or more incentives I’ll choose incentives every time. Politicians hardly ever use tax money for the purpose it was collected for. It ends up in their collective pockets.

        It simply amazes me that folks are ASKING for more taxes. Really? Like we don’t have enough already?

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          JP,
          If you are opposed to raising taxes on gas, then please share with us your plan to give more incentives to people to drive more efficient or alternative vehicles.

          We already have a $7,500 tax credit for buying electric cars. What other solutions do you propose?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Short of handing out free EVs, there is no way to move the needle by using only carrots. Sticks are more effective for something like this.

          Fuel taxes have a proven track record of reducing consumption.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Che found a bullet to the head to have a fairly high success rate of keeping pro-democratic ideas from being in the public discourse.
            In America however, freedom of choice is a pretty sweet deal. The government already gives handouts to buy certain cars, the real argument should be is when will truck buyers start getting these $7,500 checks?

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      What incentive do retailers have to suppress the cost of the gasoline they purchase, if consumers are going to pay a flat $4 floor? You’re creating a system that allows refineries to charge $4, and no tax is collected. The surplus capacity would simply be sold to other states or countries who would enjoy lower prices. Government would have to take over the purchase and distribution of gasoline from refineries and wholesalers. Total disaster.

      Gasoline price floor is as dumb as min wage laws that eliminate inexperienced, unskilled, young workers from the labor market.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Because … why?

      “To make it easier to plan product lines” is a bad excuse for “ensuring energy simply cannot become significantly cheaper”.

      Cheap energy is the best (non-novel) thing that can possibly happen for human happiness, via economic growth as well as simply enjoyable uses of energy.

      So, let me jump in with a big “no” to enforced more-expensive fuel, especially when it’s also just a money-pump for more and more expensive government.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Yeah- We’ll replace a tax with a different tax.

      You sir, are naive. Politicians don’t change taxes. They just add more taxes.

      Way to kill the trucking industry. Politicians would never go for subsidizing honest workers. Even if they did, you’d have the Farm Bill mess every year.

      No thanks. We need more oil now, and we need to get to work to create a better solution for tomorrow.

      Make electric cars as practical, useful, and cheap as gasoline cars, and I’ll buy one.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    you guys ponder and speculate about the why’s and i’ll keep the brick on the gas pedal at every redlight.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    It amazes and saddens me that people would make such a huge long-term financial decision based only on the price of gas the particular day they buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Its amazing

      I’m also completely bewildered with the fascination over pickup trucks in general. I am a NY native that recently moved down south and the love affair with trucks down here defies logic.

      • 0 avatar

        Your logic maybe, but everyone’s logic isn’t the same.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        I’ve owned a several pickups so I can explain the fascination. First and foremost they’re extremely useful and practical in crew cab form. They can haul appliances, rock, sod, furniture, shrubs/trees, drywall, lumber, plywood, etc. Put a tonneau cover on and now you have a massive 40-50 cubic foot trunk for road trips. Anything you can’t fit in the bed you can tow behind it. Want to rent a boat or jet skis on vacation? No problem. Need to haul 2000# of rock and some shrubs and a tree for landscaping? No problem. 30″ of snowfall overnight and need to get to work? No problem. Fishing trip with 5 guys, 5 tackle boxes, 12 rods, 2 coolers, 5 full-size luggage bags, and a boat? No problem. These aren’t hypotheticals, they’re stuff I’ve done with my trucks. I pay a fuel economy penalty to drive it, but the utility outweighs the fuel cost for me. Can’t do that stuff with a brown diesel wagon… unless said brown diesel wagon was a Chevy Caprice with a Duramax. I’ll pay a pile of money and/or body parts for that GM.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          +1 Frylock.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          Many pickup buyers could get by with a trailer.

          I too have long wanted a pickup. But a hitch and a cheap Harbor Freight trailer have proven to be 90% as useful as either of the two pickups I used to own. My all-in cost was about $750 which includes the hitch, trailer and the registration for the last two years.

          Now, obviously, my needs aren’t the same as yours but, for many people, they might be surprised how useful a trailer can be for many of the jobs that a pickup can do.

          Bonus: It’s easier to load my motorcycle on the trailer.

          Extra bonus: the trailer bed is actually 4′ by 8′, which is larger than most modern pickup beds.

          • 0 avatar
            chuckrs

            Bunkie

            My Dad ran a roofing business for 40 years and never had a truck. Body on frame V8 Pontiac sedans with a trailer hitch. The trailer was a Model A axle with the guts taken out of the differential, a plate put over the housing opening and a 3″ OD galv pipe welded to it. Easy to use – the pipe extended 4-5 feet in front of the 4×8 plywood bed. We carried 32 and 40 foot extension ladders – so that extra length was necessary. The bonus was easy maneuvering regardless the load carried, especially in backing up. Unhitched with a load, easier to push around without tearing up somebody’s yard.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            @bunkie,

            I’d love a trailer! It’s 100% hands down the easiest way to haul stuff. I’ve got no room to park one though.

            Additionally few vehicles have tow capacities at or over 5000lbs to make that trailer really useful. The ones that can are virtually the same price as a pickup anyways.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            What is it with all the “could get by with…” comments, when the subject of pickups comes up?

            Yeah we could all also “get by with” a Geo Metro, an 800 sqft home, eat from canned goods and a 19″ color TV.

            If you don’t, why judge?

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            “If you don’t, why judge?”

            It’s not a judgement. I’m not criticizing or faulting anyone for wanting a pickup truck. Hell, *I* want one. My point is solely that in terms of meeting *needs*, there are alternatives. By the same token, a trailer wouldn’t work for a lot of people. Horses for courses and all that…

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            We judge because oil imports and higher household fuel costs have dire economic consequences for the US. In most circumstance, the importation of raw materials and commodities isn’t a particularly big deal because businesses turn them into finished goods. Oil/gasoline are different. Americans simply consume them without any appreciable boost to domestic economic activity.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            “As long as a farmer has an abundance of water he almost invariably yields to the temptation to use it freely, even though he gets no increase in returns as a result. Where crop production is dependent on rainfall, and particularly where the rainfall is barely sufficient, farmers soon learn the value of careful and thorough tillage both in preparing the land for a crop and later whenever intertillage is possible. But the irrigation farmer with an adequate water supply is slow to appreciate the fact that thorough tillage methods abundantly repay their cost.”

            -Carl S. Scofield

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Trailers are a PITA, plain and simple. Say you want to pick up something big on your way home from work. How/where are you going to park it while at work, how about at your favorite lunch time spot? Then you have the issue of the fact that there aren’t cars out there that are capable of towing very much, once you subtract the weight of the trailer you don’t have much left over for payload. You also have to figure out where to park it where it won’t be in the way. Even the folding trailers take up a fair amount of room.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          You are one of the few, I’m guessing. I work in sem-rural NC… lot of pickup trucks, but I know the folks who drive them. For the most part, they ain’t haulin. The folks who actually are usually have a beater truck they don’t drive, and a primary commuter car.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          Amen! A truck should be a useful tool, not a Dodge RAM turned into a POS designed to dump smoke at every green light.

          I own a 1995 F-150 and a 1987 Chevrolet R-10. I’ll be getting a Chevy 2500 over the winter.

          My trucks are used for work. The F-150 is used on the farm, and the Chevrolet has hauled 1500# before.

          I’ve pulled trailers with an F-250. The trailer grossed around 8500#. Do that with a car.

        • 0 avatar
          bosozoku

          “rock, sod, furniture, shrubs/trees, drywall, lumber, plywood”

          For the one or two times a year I need the ability to haul this stuff, the home store rents F-150s for $20/hour right outside where I just bought the supplies. For the rest of my driving, I’ll stick to something small, simple, and cheap to run.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        Pickups (and V8 pony cars) are about the only reasonably priced vehicles that are still manly to drive. That’s why tons of dudes like them.

        You can belittle it all you want, but it’s the reason.

        • 0 avatar
          360joules

          Not just manly, but chickly, too, if my hospital parking lot is any indicator. A bunch of F150s have stickers with “Silly Boy, Trucks Are For Girls.” Mustang v8s are popular with the boomer nurses. Stock Wrangler with brush scratches and worn diamond plate owned by surgeon. Chargers in various R/T or base trims. One of my favorites, the frugal housekeeper who paid cash for her 3 yr old GT500.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          An interesting question: how much of US oil consumption is attributable only to gender insecurity?

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          I get it, but then if you need a car to define your manhood ¯_(ツ)_/¯

          I kind of get it… I am looking to dump my Z for something more reasonable and I like the Fiesta ST on paper, but its little cute dodgeball looks are hard for me to reconcile. Even still though the Z is a long way from a pickup truck… still gets 26-27 MPG highway and I actually can use most of its specialized capabilities on a daily basis. Lot of pickup trucks down here don’t even have tow hitches.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        There’s just something about a truck. They’re special. If like me, you suffer from carsickness, ruling corner-carving out, there is not better way to get around.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The desire for big American cars never completely went away. Pickups just took their place.

        Instead of driving LTDs, Caprices and Furys, people now drive variations of the F-150, Silverado and Ram.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        I am completely bewildered by anyone who would choose to live in NY. Does that make it a bad place to live??

        Trucks make a lot of sense, I can understand why people buy them. They are roomy, comfortable, extremely well built, reliable, and hold great resale value. People want to trade out their cars every 3-4 yrs but you think nothing of keeping a pickup 10-15 yrs, my dad’s 12yo Chevy that was completely beat its entire life still drives great. As someone already pointed out, they have essentially replaced the old full size car for many people, and they are much more practical. Anyone who tows anything even occasionally needs a truck, you can’t really rent anything that can tow these days. Any car or CUV that can tow anything of any real weight isn’t going to get good gas mileage anyways. And modern trucks are pretty efficient these days, it isn’t impossible to get 21-23mpg on the highway. That isn’t much worse than a full size car or CUV. The cost difference between 22 and even 30 mpg just isn’t all that much compared to the extra practicality of a truck.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          “They are roomy, comfortable, extremely well built, reliable, and hold great resale value.”

          So is a Camry.

          “As someone already pointed out, they have essentially replaced the old full size car for many people, and they are much more practical.”

          I’m not sure about this practicality advantage. The open bed, for example, creates difficulties in carrying/hauling anything of value. If you put a bed cover on, surprise, you probably should have just bought an SUV.

          “Anyone who tows anything even occasionally needs a truck, you can’t really rent anything that can tow these days.”

          Depends on what you are towing. I have seen trailers on Porsches. Most people are not towing horse trailers or cars or anything that would require the towing capacity of a full size truck. And you can rent U Haul trucks/vans and trailers.

          “And modern trucks are pretty efficient these days, it isn’t impossible to get 21-23mpg on the highway. That isn’t much worse than a full size car or CUV. The cost difference between 22 and even 30 mpg just isn’t all that much compared to the extra practicality of a truck.”

          The difference between 22 and 30 MPG is about $700 a year for the average driver. That’s just highway driving. If you do any city driving, it’s even worse.

          Unless you are regularly towing and hauling huge loads, there’s really no objective rationalization for a full size truck. I’m not knocking people making choices- I drive a sports car. But the idea that most of the folks buying trucks NEED them is silly.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            $700 dollars is a reason for the owner of a newer truck to go to something that gets 8mpg more?
            Your own argument against it proves your point invalid.
            Tags, taxes, purchase price, and maintenance costs more than make the $700 irrelevant. Trailer costs?

            You must be one of these people that would trade a 29 mpg vehicle for a 35 mpg vehicle.

            There’s no rationalization against getting a fullsize pickup unless your getting 40 mpg+. Your own post is enough to make that point.

          • 0 avatar

            $700.00 is more than a car payment so to large swaths of the US population yes that matters. I bought a utility trailer 6 years ago brand new for $450.00 5 x 8 with a ramp and 1200# load rating. I don’t need insurance on it here in ct reg is $22.50 every 2 years. I have spent about 3 bucks on grease for the wheel bearings in that time. It makes perfect financial sense for lots of people. Now I like pickups I owned several the last one a Dakota left because I had a long commute so I had bought a little car to daily drive the added expense of insurance and registration on a truck I drove 1,500 miles a year made no sense so I dumped it for the trailer and while every once in a while I miss the truck 99% of the time the trailer works fine. If I had more cash I likely would buy a truck but right now it makes no sense.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Most people pay less than $700 a year on car payments? How long is the payment period 36 years?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            mopar4wd, no, it does not matter because people either have the money, or they don’t.

            If they have the money, they’ll buy. If they don’t, they buy something else.

          • 0 avatar

            True people have the money or they don’t. What I’m saying is $700.00 a year is enough money for it to be at that tipping point for a lot of people. Say some one has a $350.00 a month car payment that extra $700 a year in fuel is like making two extra car payments a year. For people like me who live within a reasonably tight budget $700/a year savings can definitely swing a purchase decision. I agree for lots of people it doesn’t matter but for some it does. I like Hummer and agree with somethings he says but he has this thing he keeps that a few hundred dollars a year savings has never swayed a car buying decision and I think hes just plain wrong on this. My personal threshold for a savings worth my while is approximately one month costs for the item saved over the year. IE if I can save one months worth of insurance premium over a year I will change policies this amounts to an 8% savings year over year to me that’s worth it. But this is all relative and in years past I did not have such a tight budget like I mentioned I kept my truck around because I liked it not saying this to tell anyone what to do just looking at the financial aspect of it from a average income with kids kind of perspective.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            @Hummer, that $700 is just for 1 year of fuel. All the costs you list will be higher for a truck than it would be for a comparably equipped mainstream car. And yea, $700 doesn’t sound like much, but folks are keeping cars for 6-8 years now, so that $700 turns into $4200-5600… don’t play coy and act like that’s not a lot of money to the average American.

            As luck would have it, as soon as I submitted that post I had to go out in the field with a coworker who has a late model GMC Sierra 1500. My impressions of it were not good… interior felt pretty cheap, and was also surprisingly cramped. My 350Z has more front leg room. The ride felt ponderous and never really buttoned down. Overall just a weird driving experience that makes my bewilderment with the fascination with trucks that much deeper.

            And I am about to trade a 20 MPG vehicle for a 30 MPG one… driving 25K miles a year, that will net me savings of about $1,500 a year at current gas prices. If thats a small sum to you I can give you my Paypal address so you can pay me the difference and let me keep my car.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            A Camry is not nearly as roomy as a full size crew cab pickup, not even close. For smaller guys like me it doesn’t really matter, but for people of larger stature it makes a huge difference. To me that is the biggest reason I see people buying full size crew cabs or SUVs. interior space.

            As for towing, I meant real towing, not those stupid little trailers people haul garden supplies with. Yes of course it matters what you tow, but since I have to spell it out for you, I meant boats, jet skis, ATVs, travel trailers, etc. If you go out boating even once a month who wants to rent and drive a UHaul truck for those times? Or on trips??

            As for practicality, a truck gives you the option of using a hard bed cover or NOT using it when you need an open bed. Buying an SUV eliminates one of those options, so I guess it depends on what is more important to you. But since pickup trucks sell so well, I think that’s been decided.

            As for $700 making a difference in most people’s budgets, no way. The average American doesn’t live within that tight of a budget, they hardly live within a budget at all, which is part of the problem we have here. If you are that kind of person, kudos, but then again you probably aren’t buying a $30-40k truck or car either.

            And finally, I never said anyone NEEDS a truck, I just said they make a very attractive option for those people who are looking for a vehicle that meets a large number of different needs with minimal compromises.

          • 0 avatar

            I agree that fullsize crew cabs are roomy I’m 6’3″ I really do like trucks I’m much more a truck guy then a car guy. Used to belong to a 4wd club and had several pickups a full sized SUV as well as several smaller SUV’s. Hell My wife drives a 1st Gen Durango still because she loves it and it make no financial sense to swap a paid for SUV getting 14 mpg for a 25 mpg CUV when it only goes 5 -7k miles a year. Now if we were going to but a new car for her I would try to get into the 20 mpg range but would like to stay with something with some towing as I have a 19′ sailboat and hopefully a camper at some point so I would like to keep towing around 5000Lbs but thats within the realm of a new penta star Durango.
            That said i think if you look at lower middle to middle class (lets say with in 20% of median household income) I would think that $700 a year over the lifetime of a vehicle would be enough to give them pause if they really had no need for the capability. It does me and I know some of my neighbors with similar incomes have similar thoughts so I just think the MPG of a vehicle does matter and the cost of those extra MPG matter on both a practical and emotional level. $10 a month won’t but I think $50-100 will . And I should add the entire country is not in love with Pickups other than when I’m out in the farm country here in New ENgland you average Ford dealer has a row of Fusions and Escapes out front with a few F-150’s around back.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      I had the exact same reaction. Leaving the utility of pickup trucks aside, do people really think that fuel prices will stay the same over the five or six years that they’ll own a car? It’s basically the equivalent of not going to the grocery store because you’re not hungry.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        Yes, they believe in long-term low oil prices because they are accustomed to spending twenty years of their adult lives (1986-2006) with cheap oil.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “We judge because oil imports and higher household fuel costs have dire economic consequences for the US.”

          So let’s see you live in a much smaller house, and not heat or cool all of it.

          “In most circumstance, the importation of raw materials and commodities isn’t a particularly big deal because businesses turn them into finished goods.”

          Other than oversize houses, what do we build from imported raw materials?

          “Oil/gasoline are different. Americans simply consume them without any appreciable boost to domestic economic activity.”

          Filling up the tank and showing up for work doesn’t boost domestic economic activity? What about distributing/delivering all those Chinese goods to Wally Mart? What industries WOULDN’T grind to a halt without oil/fuel?

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            We’re talking about marginal consumption and productivity. What productivity is derived from commuting in truck as opposed to a Charger? Zero, basically. Same can be said for inefficient trucking fleets.

            Normally, no one would care, but this isn’t a normal situation. Oil imports oil imports are about 1/3 of our trade deficit. Houses aren’t that big of a deal because they are fueled with natural gas and coal.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      The same logic sways people to buy SUVs in the fall and convertibles in the spring, as if summer or winter are never going to come again, lol.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      People seem to be unwilling or unable to run the math on miles and prices amortized over the length of ownership, for sure.

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    I guess everything really is relative, if $3 gas is now “cheap”.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Just goes to show you that a good number Americans really do not want fuel efficient green mobiles. Can’t blame them, I don’t want ’em either; I’ve got my eyes set on a new Yukon XL. Drive a Prius and a Grand Cherokee, and ignoring the fuel cost tell me what you’d rather drive.

    I’d also speculate that the increase in truck and SUV sales could be due to major product updates in the segment. Ram’s added alot of new powertrains. GM’s trucks and full-size SUVs are all new, etc.

    @s2k chris,

    Why do we need a minimum gas price exactly? To force consumers to buy the type of vehicles you think they should buy? Are you also aware that a “floor” tax would affect the costs of shipping goods, making your groceries and other necessities more expensive? A good careful automaker designed products for a broad swath of customers. Silverados and Priuses will always have customers regardless of fuel prices. When fuel’s cheap more Silverados will move, when fuel’s expensive more Priuses will move, but that’s a supply/inventory control issue, not a product planning one.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “Drive a Prius and a Grand Cherokee, and ignoring the fuel cost tell me what you’d rather drive.”

      How about neither? Why is the only alternative to a notorious penalty box a 5000-pound truck? I really don’t understand why so many American car buyers think that way. There is actually a middle ground, of vehicles that are comfortable and more fun to drive than gigantic trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        American culture promotes buying in bulk whether it’s cars, housing, or toilet paper. For one, the math is relatively easy, so even stupid people can do it. e.g. –

        “Dis ting is bigger den dat ting but theys cost da same moneys so da big ting is da best ting!”

        Most people make some sort of evolution-based argument about scarcity throughout human evolution that results in our being “hard-wired” to hoard capacity and resources. It’s a nice story, but I don’t buy it.

        Probably the most fundamental reason for the buy-in-bulk mentality is the success and pervasiveness of our consumer-driven culture. Buying lots of stuff requires producing, transporting, stocking, and retailing lots of stuff. Throw regulating and taxing on top of that and it’s a nice way to create jobs and keep the cycle spinning. It’s not necessarily a rational way to make decisions, but if you expect people to be rational, expect to be frustrated.

        They just ain’t.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          I call this the “Costco 500” as in “We spent $500 at Costco and we need a big vehicle to haul all that stuff home”.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          Lumping together a 3000 square foot mansion, a 70″ TV, and a car that’s a couple inches wider to not bang your elbows quite so often is an awfully broad net.

          Even a Superduty is still far and away the smallest space that most non impoverished people will ever cram themselves into on a regular basis.

          All of the other features of the car market are exactly consumption for its own sake, space isn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            Well. Most people don’t live in their transportation. Space for the sake of space is consumption for its own sake.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            The tasty McDouble demands you take a moment and enjoy a real, good
            laugh. With all that is going on in this crazy world it’s good to take a
            second to indulge…. enjoy!
            But don’t eat me bro!

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          So it’s rational for us to expect the irrationality of others, which is precisely why the rational expectations model still works, if only in derivative capacity.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            My viewpoint is probably more accurately stated without using “rational” because that word connotes causality.

            Our best model of the world/universe is probabilistic, but most of our minds are still operating based on causal thinking or less-sophisticated, older modes. Accordingly, my viewpoint is more accurately stated as: “don’t expect people to make good decisions because their mental models do not correspond to objective reality.”

            Several threads in this discussion seem to support my viewpoint.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      It’s not about the types of vehicles I think they should buy (sports cars!!) it’s about taking volatility out of the market. Product planning is a ~3 year lead time, so as oil fluctuates, it drives demand for various types of cars, and it’s very difficult to plan that far out. And if I’m buying a car today, how do I know if the gas guzzler I’m buying today will be a money pit in 3 years, or if I’m resigning myself to some crappy hybrid when I don’t need to because gas is going to tank.

      I would MUCH rather see a gas tax increase/floor than stupid CAFE targets. Give people the CHOICE to buy crappy fuel economy vehicles, and then only penalize someone who actually consumes a lot of gas. That way, you could, say, drive a Prius every day, but keep a Hellcat in the garage for weekends and the occasional track day. You’re burning little fuel in the Hellcat, so who cares at what rate you burn it. Or if I live 3 miles from work, why shouldn’t I commute in an F350, I’m still burning less than the guy in the Prius commuting 100 miles round trip.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        This may have been more true thirty years ago, but I doubt product design would radically change in a few years time. Small cars with small motors are a legitimate part of the market now, I doubt any mainstream OEM would cut the budget of these segments if they wished to stay in business for more than two or three product cycles.

        I’d also comment on the amazing fuel efficiency of things like Corvette and Hellcat -in real world conditions- vs their turbo I4 counterparts.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        I have less of an objection to a gas tax than I do to CAFE, CAFE is terrible law for all of the reasons you’ve stated and more besides, but when did we concede the core issue of central planning and make it an either/or? How about neither?

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        We don’t need a floor, we just need a rational level of gas taxation. If gas was at European levels, we would see a very different market here. Instead we have the silliness that is CAFE, trying to force manufacturers to create vehicles that aren’t really what the market wants.

        At the moment, Europe is being even more silly with both high gas prices AND CAFE by another name, CO2 regulation.

        This is assuming we have a societal interest in having more fuel efficient vehicles. Personally, I don’t really care about the fuel efficiency of others. You want to commute at 15mpg, be my guest.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          ” If gas was at European levels, we would see a very different market here.”

          Yes, the coffin market would see a spike in sales to the families of politicians who supported this Euro-style tax hike.

          “At the moment, Europe is being even more silly with both high gas prices AND CAFE by another name, CO2 regulation.”

          This is the path of the future. Every western nation is moving toward fuel economy standards. The US has been ahead of the curve on this, and everyone else is getting into line.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        “I would MUCH rather see a gas tax increase/floor than stupid CAFE targets.”

        How about neither?

    • 0 avatar

      The floor would provide a greater incentive to make all vehicles more efficient, so the costs of shipping might go up temporarily, but would trend back down. (We haven’t done nearly everything we could do to make ICE more efficient.)

      We need this (along with a carbon tax) because if we don’t, the planet will bake, and starvation, war, and misery will result. People who are children now will see a much less pleasant world if we don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        JGlanton

        Groan. Tax others more and dictate what others should drive because an apocalyptic cult of chicken littles believes that the planet has a fever. Except that it doesn’t, and every prediction by warmists to date has been wrong. It was warmer in the 1930’s than it is now, the U.S. average temperature has cooled over the last 80 years, droughts are fewer, severe weather events are fewer, the number of 90-degree days are much fewer, global ice is growing, sea levels are normal, the US is having record early snows and ice, and, as always, there is zero correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and global temperature averages.

        Or, you can completely forget that last winter was one of the coldest on record, that this summer was one of the mildest on record, and instead listen to cult leaders like NASA’s Gavin Schmidt who tell us that this is the warmest year on record. You can forget that we are having the longest period in history without a major hurricane strike, and listen to politicians like Kerry and Obama tell us that severe weather is getting worse due to our SUVs. You can ignore that the country on average is wetter than normal according to the Palmer Drought Severity Index, and listen to politicians tell us that the small drought region in the SW of the country is an apocalyptic sign that dictates that others should turn their thermostats down.

      • 0 avatar

        Well put.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Which would you rather drive?

      The Prius????

      ——————

      I have an F-150 and an Audi A6 wagon. I’d rather drive the Audi, personally. I don’t need to show off male-enhancement products, thank you much.

      The Audi gets better fuel mileage, and doesn’t feel like I’m on stilts.

      You should buy what’s best for you, not necessarily what’s largest.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    This is America; feel free to drive whatever you want, even if it gets 12mpg. However, don’t come bitching at me when gas goes back up and it costs you $120 to fill your tank every week – I won’t listen.

  • avatar

    This is what killed the electric car last time, or was it the time before that?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Goes to show, as the KBB lady said, no one wants the penalty boxes for sale, unfortunate circumstances just force consumers into the crap that they can reason with.
    This should be priority one, the economy grows and retracts with fuel costs, get rid of fuel taxes on all levels and you help the economy grow.

    • 0 avatar

      “…no one wants the penalty boxes for sale…”

      If we were back in—oh—2008, I’d be able to understand this. As far as small cars went, you had the Caliber, the Focus and the Cobalt and G5. Even the decent cars of the segment—the Civic, Corolla and Elantra—lacked noticeable features compared to larger cars, and the latter two examples had about as much style as a cardboard box. If you wanted something a bit fancier, like a Jetta or an Imprezza, you paid a nice premium. And subcompacts? Forget about it. It really was a punishment to drive a smaller vehicle, and buyers looked for every excuse to upgrade to something larger and nicer. But when a $20,000 small car comes very well-equipped and a $23,000 one is practically a luxury car (save for the ridiculously-priced Mazda3), I don’t see why it’s such a big deal. Small cars are only penalty boxes in that many of them are dull to drive, but so is a $45,000 Highlander Limited, or even a $72,000 Yukon Denali XL.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I thought half the posters to TTAC were begging for light, simple, manual transmission cars.

        Gas could sell for 29 cents/gallon, and I’m still not driving a Navigator.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I literally had a dream last night I was driving a Navi. Evidently I was trying to make a left through a street which no longer exists and stopped. I made a remark to my brother (who was with me) that I would have made the quick turn if I had been in “my car” but I was afraid of tipping over this bus I was driving.

          “I thought half the posters to TTAC were begging for light, simple, manual transmission cars.”

          I’d be happy with updated versions of late 80s cars.

  • avatar
    319583076

    If it weren’t for myopia, most ‘murricans would have no vision at all.

  • avatar
    Occam

    After getting caught with my pants down as a scrapin’ by 21 year old trying to fuel a Jeep Wrangler (just as gas prices shot from $1.50 to $2.30 seemingly overnight), I’ve always made a personal policy of not buying a car unless I am comfortable with paying for gas at 2-3 times the current price.

    Fast forward 2-3 years, we’ll have another spike. It’ll be another Katrina, or middle east tensions, or an embargo… something will always push that volatile market. When that happens, we’ll once again have to listen to the nightly local TV interviews with idiots at gas pumps, complaining that they can’t afford fuel for their 2-3 year old Canyonero.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      The things people will do to put a tiger in their tanks…

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Can you name the truck with four wheel drive, smells like a steak, and seats thirty five? Canyonero! Canyonero! Well, it goes real slow with the hammer down, It’s the country-fried truck endorsed by a clown, Canyonero! Canyonero!

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Perhaps the solution is for news stations to not waste time and resources interviewing drivers at the pump about the price of gas.

      Most of us have figured out that fuel prices are volatile, and have adjusted accordingly.

      I’d also like more details regarding which “SUVs” people are really buying. To most people, CR-Vs and Escapes are SUVs, as are Tahoes and Grand Cherokees. It appears, however, that more people are buying the former two as opposed to the latter two. Not making any distinction between the wide variety of vehicles in a category makes as much sense as lumping a Honda Civic EX sedan and Dodge Challenger Hellcat together because both are “passenger cars.”

      The big GM SUVs, for example, are increasingly sold to fleet customers. The Tahoe appears to be partially filling the void left by the old Crown Victoria for various law enforcement agencies, while the Suburban/Denali appears to be taking the Town Car’s place. So sales may be strong, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those Tahoes, Denalis and Escalades actually end up in a private driveway.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      My car doesn’t smell like a snake, and doesn’t force school buses into a tree.

      Where do I sign?

  • avatar

    It’s almost like the public “forget” how gas prices go back up within a few months. They are making an investment that will last and commit themselves for years, but make the buying decision based on current gas prices, they don’t look forward more than 5 minutes.

    Amazing. Simply Amazing.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Why do you act like people are stupid in this matter, if gas went back to a reasonable $1.XX price maybe I could understand, but we’re <$.50 cheaper than I've been paying on average for the past 5 years.

      It's not much cheaper, no ones making a purchase that they knowingly cannot afford with that extra $.50.

      The people are making these purchases because they're tired of small cars and see no reason to let a short-term dip go wasted.

      • 0 avatar

        I think the stupidity is an economical one. We have seen this with large price swings in gas before. People buy less efficient vehicles when price drops they than sell them to but more fuel efficient when it goes back up 50 cents a gallon (making no fiscal sense whatsoever) vehicles which causes a glut causing large vehicle values to drop in rapid fashion. Which depending on your situation either hurts the resale on your truck or makes it real cheap to buy the silverado with the 6.0 gas hog.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Anyone buying a large thirsty vehicle based on $3 gas prices is a fool, particularly if they cant afford gas over $4 per gallon on the vehicle. We are just one federal regulation away from a marked increase in prices, one hurricane, one refinery shut down, and lets not forget, the world is a very unstable place right now. Syria, Russia, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Venezuala, etc. Gas will be $4 per gallon again in the time frame they own or lease the vehicle. My wallet may be thankful for the reprieve at the pump, but I know it is temporary.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      A big thirsty vehicle isn’t what consumers usually buy, when they have a long commute and it’s their only vehicle, regardless of fuel prices. Unless they’re brain dead. Or make good money. If they do, and can’t afford it when fuel prices climb, those vehicles will hit the market for cheap. I can’t wait.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Complaints about the price of gas are invalid if they aren’t accompanied by equally vehement complaints about the size of the monthly payment, the ruinous cost of full-coverage insurance and the crippling, unexpected shell outs for maintenance and bullshit traffic tickets.

    The cost of fuel is only one aspect of the ownership of a vehicle, and often not even the largest or most important one.

    Just once, JUST ONCE, I’d love to see some guy on one of those news reports say that the cost of gas doesn’t bother him, but that awful, Awful, AWFUL insurance company is bleeding him dry every month.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Recall the first gas price runup during the mid 2000s. There was a Republican in office, so bad news to the tune of 100 bucks a month at Exxon was the lead in news segment for three years running.

      Now recall what else was being run up during the mid 2000s. The assessed value of my house ballooned from the 270K I paid for it in the late 90s to $850,000, money I didn’t see a single penny of unless I was in the business of selling my house and living in the back of my car instead.

      Know what I did see? My property tax bill run up from from a smidge over $3000 up to $8000 a year.

      Know what I didn’t see? A single news story, anywhere, even once, on the biggest and fastest middle class tax hike in my lifetime. I had every reason to expect to buy the state of Maryland a new Explorer over the next 10 years. Instead I bought them a new S550 and I’m well on the way to buying them another.

      But it couldn’t be blamed on a Republican so as far as the press is concerned it never happened.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “The assessed value of my house ballooned from the 270K I paid for it in the late 90s to $850,000, money I didn’t see a single penny of unless I was in the business of selling my house and living in the back of my car instead.”

        People always assume there’s no way to take advantage of a rise in the value of their homes without selling. There are plenty of ways to do so.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Take out a second mortgage to pay your property taxes?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            If your assessed value rose that fast (and is reasonably accurate), sure. Your total LTV ratio is still much lower than it ever was before the appreciation hit. You still have plenty of equity.

            Or take advantage of a variety of other products designed to tap into your home value.

            So much of TTAC commenters’ financial advice is based on a combination of emotional reactions and moral aversion to any debt, not reason.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        How fast did your tax bill go from $3000 to $8000? In Michigan, taxable value can only increase by 5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        “Know what I didn’t see? A single news story, anywhere, even once, on the biggest and fastest middle class tax hike in my lifetime.”

        Get a better newspaper. I recall articles about it.

        One mitigating “feature” of an increase in your property tax is that it’s deductible. MN even has a program that provides property tax relief in such cases.

        Personal fuel expense isn’t deductible.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        I don’t own a house, but I’ve been listening to my parents complain about property taxes for decades.

        It seems to me that the only just way to assess property taxes is to charge them when the property is sold, because only then will the true market value of the house be determined.

        That’s how governments tax every other product – at the cash register.

        If the local government is going to tax you for $850,000 in property value, it should have to guarantee that you get $850,000 for the place when you sell it.

        And if you don’t get that much from the buyer, the local government should have to make up the difference or refund the difference in tax assessment that it charged you over the years.

        Who knows, maybe such a law would force some accountability.

        Personally, I rather like the idea that you should get taxed based on the last known concrete valuation of the property – the price YOU paid for it.

        Or, the government should just not charge property taxes at all.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          OneAlpha,
          Public schools cost money. So do roads, police and fire departments. That’s why there are property taxes.

          If you think a property cannot be valued without a sale, you should check Zillow.com.

          • 0 avatar

            I hate property tax but we do need to pay for things I would happily pay and extra 5 percent in income tax to avoid property taxes coming every year no matter what my income is.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Why should the gov’t gaurantee that you can sell you house for what you paid for it? They can’t control if you have a 100 cats or dogs that chewed/clawed holes in the walls/doors/trim, relieved themselves on the carpet or that you didn’t get drunk and decide that you were going to fit your boat in the garage by taking a chain saw to the wall and making a spot for your motor to fit into the laundry room.

          Not sure about other states but in my state the property is taxed, in addition to the annual taxes, when you sell it. Also the tax rates do not reflect the actual value, typically they lag market value by around 20% currently in my area. Certainly there are cases where they are overvalued like when some or all of the things listed above happen to the house, but that is out of gov’t control.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            And that’s my point.

            Neither the government nor anyone else has any idea how much a piece of real estate is worth until both parties agree on a price and the transaction is completed.

            It is unjust for the government to assess a tax on the estimated value of a property’s worth, because that estimate could be wildly out of order.

            The point of the law I half-jokingly proposed above would be to force the assessors to not arbitrarily go around raising property taxes, because if they did, they’d be setting the local government up for a huge refund issuance ON EACH HOUSE down the road.

            And to respond to your point about public schools – I don’t have children, so I shouldn’t have to pay for the schools.

            If I choose to buy a Lamborghini, I do so knowing that it’s expensive – expensive to buy, expensive to maintain, expensive to ensure.

            Nobody forced me to buy a Lamborghini, just as no one forced my neighbor to have children.

            I’m the one responsible for my expenses, not my neighbor, and vice versa.

            If I chose to buy an expensive car when I wasn’t under some legal or natural requirement to do so, then it’s on me to pay for it.

            No officer of the government pointed a gun at me and told me to buy that car, just as no government agent demanded that anyone procreate.

            Having children is a choice – one that doesn’t obligate your fellow man to help you financially.

            Sure, I might derive some benefit from funding the schooling of my neighbor’s kids, just as my neighbor might derive some indirect benefit from my owning a Lamborghini (Joe next door took me for a ride in his Murcielago!).

            But at best, my paying for schooling for my neighbor’s kids gives me an indirect benefit, and certainly not worth the price to me in actual, real dollars.

            Look, I think that there’s a fundamental misunderstanding at work here regarding the nature of taxes.

            Taxes aren’t “dues” that a citizen “owes” to the State for the “privilege” of being a member of society.

            The concept of “owe” NEVER applies to the concept of “tax.” One can no more “owe” taxes the State than one can “owe” tribute to the Mafia and yes, they are pretty much the same thing.

            Taxes, properly understood, are simply the fees that citizens pay for government services.

            That’s the understanding the Founding Father’s subscribed to, and it’s the one I endorse.

            Taxes are nothing more than the bill for police, fire, road construction, etc. There’s no “owe” in there.

            So yes, paying taxes absolutely DOES entitle me to some sort of tangible benefit, as it does you and everybody else.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          Disagree. I purchased a house circa 2005. Under your system in late 2008 I would have still been paying based on the 2005 sales price. I did not get the 2005 price when I sold in 2010 so I would have spent several years paying inflated taxes under this system. Thanks.

          Incidentally my county in NC only assessed every 3 years when I moved there. They changed to every year because they felt they were missing out on the rapidly rising values. This of course eventually came back to bite them.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Pickup/SUV sales are primarily driven by commercial needs. The second sweet spot of the US market is pretty much every mid-sized 4 cyl sedan and the compact CUVs. They deliver 25-30 mpg or more, satisfy the personal needs of most Americans, and their efficiency will only increase.

    I’d say we’re in good shape long-term.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Pickup truck sales may be driven by commercial needs, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen any SUV other than a Suburban in a fleet.

      But yeah, I’d say we’re in alright shape, despite the doomsayers.tdoom

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Sorry but no, commercial sales of pickups and even more so SUV are the minority of the market, the vast majority of the purchasers are retail consumers. Yes some of those consumers purchase them for towing or hauling but the majority use them as the family sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Among the Suburban, Tahoe and both versions of the Yukon, 44 percent went to fleet customers in 2013. That isn’t the “majority” of their sales, but that percentage is a lot higher than I had ever imagined.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Fleet customers are not necessarily commercial customers. A lot of those Suburbans, Tahoes and Yukons go into rental fleets. Police use isn’t really commercial use either, they are buying them because they can’t get a roomy and durable sedan since the Crown Vic went away.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Fleet or commercial, they are not individual retail customers. That is the crucial distinction.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The mainstream fullsize SUV market has taken a heavy hit since the recession and oil price spike of the mid-2000s. It went from being high volume with low fleet to much lower volume with high fleet.

            Full-size pickups are another matter. Those sales have recovered a lot of lost ground, with the new sales having much higher transaction prices than before. It would seem that those who stayed in the full-size truck market are splurging on higher trim levels, while those who bailed out of full-size SUVs downsized into entirely different vehicle segments. The two markets are distinctly separate, despite the shared BOF designs.

      • 0 avatar

        I can’t find it now but pickuptrucks.com had an article a few years ago showing that more than 50 percent of new full size truck sales were for commercial use (not just fleet but plumbers contractors etc) No sure if it’s true every where but here in the northeast most trucks are purchased for business use.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Why is someone NOT buying a Prius a cause for concern?

    I’m really not worried, I see the dip in oil prices as a temporary phenomenon, and I’m absolutely opposed to the government raising taxes on fuel when the price of energy goes down.

    Cheap energy = jobs and economic growth. You raise the price of energy you will hurt the economy.

    I’d rather have the “stimulus” of affordable energy in the hands of consumers then whatever boondoggle the government would use the tax revenue for. Maybe another Solyndra?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      This, a round of applause should be given if the economy is doing well enough that people have expendable income that allows them to buy more than the bare minimum they need.

  • avatar
    TW5

    If the Automotive News article is looking at the Prius and C-Max to glean information about the market as a whole, the author is making a mistake. Ford lied about the C-Max EPA numbers (apparently), which has negatively impacted its sales. Toyota have shot themselves in the foot by teasing the new Prius, but delaying its release.

    Those two vehicles strike me as irrelevant outliers.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Are you the voice of reason?

      The Prius is near replacement, and the C-Max is a dud.

      One question: why are companies complaining that their fuel efficient cars aren’t what people want? Seems to me like they should try to do better, instead of just whining.

      When I compare my cars to what my dad drove at my age, I see I’m getting twice the performance on less then half the fuel, and much better reliability.
      No complaints from me, which means I would never make it as an auto executive!

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Or as a subject for a news story. Happy and satisfied people generally don’t make good fodder for television or print.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        CAFE 2017-2025 is actually not a final rule. Perhaps some companies are trying to wiggle out of CAFE 2025 or they want sweeping revisions.

        Personally, CAFE 2025 does not strike me as particularly clever. The first CAFE regulations inadvertently created the truck-SUV boom, which compensated the Big 3 for the decline of fullsize V8 sedans, but it didn’t help the American consumer or the transportation sector. CAFE 2025 could have similar unintended consequences by adding $2,500 of hybrid equipment to every vehicle in the fleet, except trucks. As a result, trucks could become even more desirable than they are now.

        The manufacturers probably want to ditch the footprint rules or delay implementation by another decade.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Hybrids and electric cars are not fulfilling some “need” that car buyers have. That need may be utility, range, style, price, perceived image, etc. The need may not be strictly rational. But for the majority of car buyers in the US, the current crop of alt fuel cars just isn’t doing it. I’m sure most Americans would love a car that gets better mileage than the one they are driving, but if the only option is a car that doesn’t meet their needs, they’ll settle for less mileage to get their other needs met.

    Imagine if we did all drive hybrids. The gas tax revenue would collapse and the politicians would be in a panic to raise revenue. It’s already happening in CT, where the power companies want to raise rates because we listened to their energy conservation commercials too well.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Good clickbait. Point #1: For most people the cost of fuel is a fraction of the total cost of owning a car. So, what’s why they’re not too sensitive to the price of fuel.

    Point #2, having ridden in it, I would say the Prius is a penalty box, compared even to, say a Ford Focus. The only argument for buying a Prius is an excessive fixation on fuel economy. Once the media stop babbling about “high fuel” prices, people stop and think: do I want a Prius, or would a Focus, or a Civic be more to my liking? People don’t cross-shop a Prius and an F-150.

    Point #3. Change is how you know you’re alive. If there’s no change in your life, that means you’re dead. Deal with it; everyone does.

    Point #4: The last time I listened to “experts” about the trends in the price of fuel was 1980. For the previous 7 years, the price of fuel had gone up dramatically. So, naturally, the experts said it would keep going up . . . and I believed them. So, when it was time for me to buy a new car, I bought an Audi 5000 diesel. A nice car saddled with a horrible engine. Yes, it was a comfortable sedan that reliably achieved 30 mpg in mixed driving, 35 on the highway. But it had an absolute top speed of 67 mph and had a hard time maintaining 60 in rolling country with a couple of passengers and some luggage. Of course, the price of fuel fell dramatically over the period, so I felt pretty stupid.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Fuel prices bounce up and down like a roller coaster. Just because fuel is less expensive at the moment doesn’t mean it’s cheap. $40-50 to fill up ain’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination, even figuring today’s dollar with say, 42 years ago, just months from the first oil shock in March 1973.

    People need to buy whatever vehicle suits their needs, but those who buy a less fuel-efficient vehicle just because gas is below $3 right now will be sorry. I bought a 2012 Impala because I wanted a good, comfortable highway-runner and I haven’t been disappointed, even if the mpgs are only around 30 mpg.

    I suppose another way to solve the fuel efficiency problem is to take Pat Paulsen’s advice of many years ago for the OEMs to build longer cars, that way the distance between any point A and point B is that much shorter!

    • 0 avatar
      jellybean

      I agree. It seems the moment gas prices start coming down (and will then go back up again of course), people seem to have amnesia. They run out and buy a huge Range Rover or similar (these are the people who have money to do so), and when the price of gas goes back up, they grumble, park the RR and drive their second car, a corolla or something. It infuriates me when people do this. It’s irresponsible and stupid. Just because you have lots of money doesn’t give the right to be selfish and stupid. Consumers need to be more responsible and think about the future, and ‘be the change’, not keep going against it.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Ya, it’s stupid why would you buy a Range Rover with the known reliability issues, an escalade makes more sense by all comparisons.

        Seriously, get over yourself, this is the future, people don’t want little cars if the drawbacks for something bigger isn’t meaningful.
        Your being selfish because of unknown reasons, and if your own stupidity infuriates you, well that’s good news for the rest of us that live happier and obviously more fulfilled lives, rather than worrying about other people.

        • 0 avatar
          Carilloskis

          In defence of the Range Rover, it does have better off road chops than the escilade. the Fact that is the only Full size SUV to come close to the GMT 400s off road ability when it comes to ground clearnce approach and departure angles says alot. Also how many Full size SUVs can run sub 5 second 0-60 and still go off road. I know people that own RRs and Escilades, and quite a few of the rover owners go off road in their rigs, they generaly pick trails that push their SUVs to its limits but with minimal risk of damage or pin striping. Yes the Rover has a higher total cost of owner ship than an escilade which is just a silvarado with some fanicer bits on it.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Tongue-in-cheek

            Not denying they both have separate appeal.

            Though the idea these owners will go from either vehicle to a compact to save 1k-2k a year is hilarious

          • 0 avatar
            bomberpete

            Range Rovers have considerable faults in terms of reliability and thirst. One could say the exact same thing of Jeeps.

            To me, those two brands are closer in spirit than the Escalade/Denali/Tahoe/Suburban, which really are just modern versions of the DeVille, Electra, and 98 Regency with the profit build-in to match.

            Aside from breaking down a lot, what RR and Jeep both have in common is that, no matter how expensive or fancily-appointed they are, both remain serious off-road machines.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes it is hilarious but they do. My father had a client whose daughter (paid well over 6 figures by her dads company and lived in one of the familys houses on the shore) traded her 1 year old Navigator for a Escape at the last spike and the dealer asked for a 2 grand on top of the trade in that she actually paid because the weekly gas bill was killing her (right seriously). People make incredibly stupid decisions when gas prices change. Its not new either my father (who holds a master in economics) was convinced during the 1981 spike that prices weren’t coming back down that he took a $3,000 hit trading in a fullsize Buick on a new Datsun. Of course that was 11mpg to over 30mpg, and he kept the car for more than 15 years.

          • 0 avatar
            mkirk

            Land Cruiser? It ain’t what it used to be but it is still up there with the Range Rover and far beyond the GM stuff.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    I’m sensing a lot of butt-hurt in the “control what people can own” crowd.

    Loving it. Hope the price falls to 99 cents a gallon and rich, spoiled teenage girls back their Escalades into your economy cars, you fascist crybabies.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      +1 for the imagery, but actually such pricing would allow for a real economic recovery as opposed to the fake one being parroted by MSM and dot gov.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Comment of the day. And I drive a Leaf.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Can I take issue with how little training or skill one needs to be legally able to drive a 7000lb behemoth, or does that make me a fascist crybaby as well?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Have you ever driven something weighing 7,000#s?
        It’s no different than driving a 3-4,XXXlb S10 blazer.

        Acceleration is the same, brakes I’ve always found to be more powerful the bigger the truck (hydraulic) and thusly appropriate. What are you referring to? I took my driving test in a extended cab 3/4 Chevy which included parallel parking between a Mercedes and suburban to get a space near the building.
        This belief that somehow a 4+ ton vehicle is significantly different to drive than a 2.5-3 ton truck is old and completey untrue. It’s another crybaby way to take issue with something you dislike. Next you’ll take issue with the shininess of the keys.

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          I think my Land Cruiser was pushing 6 with all the armor and what not. It actually stopped better after the weight gain because I realized how underbraked it was and went about fixing it. Yes, you get used to it and it becomes second nature…even the 8 ton truck I drove through Baghdad. What about the little skill it takes to drive a Vette?

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          I have driven a number of larger trucks and SUVs (up to a 2500 Suburban), and drove a Chevy Express for work for a couple years, and you’re right, it’s not exceptionally challenging or different, especially if you respect the extra mass.

          But you’re okay with the woeful level of driver ability in North America, and wouldn’t prefer to see the most incompetent in something with a little less kinetic energy for when they do screw up (if we refuse to raise the standards it takes to get a license)?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I have a CDL and spent five years driving buses that weighed between 25,000 and 60,000 pounds. It is *very* different, and 90% of the reason why is increased stopping distance. That’s also true on a smaller scale when you go from 3,000 lbs. to 7,000. To drive a larger vehicle safely you have to anticipate more and leave more room to stop. Most people in the US don’t. Every single day I see Suburbans and F-350s being driven as though they can stop like sports cars, and it makes me cringe.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Total cost of ownership should figure into people’s buying decision, but it doesn’t always. We don’t buy cars just to spend the least amount of money.

    Sometimes, a reliable gas hog is cheaper to operate than a fuel-sipping clunker, or a rapidly-depreciating EV.

  • avatar
    matador

    Alright folks, lets go and snatch up all of the Saturns, Civics, Corollas, Neons, and Focuses (Focii??) that we can find.

    We’ll sell them to these same idiots in May.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Again the idea owners of new pickups and SUVs are suddenly going to switch to a compact to save $800-2,000 a year, is hilarious.
      Your average truck doesn’t get 10MPG and your average car doesn’t get 50MPG.
      Microsoft Excel is your friend.

      • 0 avatar
        Carilloskis

        Hummer, in college in took a stats class and in my end of semester project determined that the most fuel efficent drive train based on the weight moved was GM’s 5.3L Vortec V8 with 4 speed at the time the Prius did particularly bad as it is very light even the 6.2 Raptor is more efficent per lb than a prius

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          Recalculate using the city or combined number. Hint: Weight plays a much bigger role in the city and combined cycles because you have to bring that mass up to speed over and over. The highway cycle is where aero drag is the big player and weight is relatively not a factor. Basically, you picked a specification that is largely unrelated to the thing that you are comparing. I’m also interested if you used miles/gallon or gallons/100mi. The Prius is approximately 40% lighter than a full size truck (4900lbs versus 2900lbs). If you use gal/100 miles, it takes approximately 56% less fuel on the highway to cover the same distance (21mpg = 4.76gal/100mi versus 48mpg = 2.08gal/100mi). You are lucky that an engineering professor wasn’t grading the project.

          • 0 avatar
            Carilloskis

            Acctually my professor was an engineer, and the project was done in 09 so the numbers that ford was claiming for the 6.2 Raptor where based on pre production that it would get the same MPG as the 5.4l v8. More went in to this project than just MPG and curb wieght, the coeiffecent of drag was also taken into accout as was rolling resistance of the standard tires a 2009 sububran was rated at 20 MPG hyw and had a .36 drag coeifficent and wieghed 5935 the 2009 prius had a curb wieght of 2932 45 MPG HYW and a .26 drag coeiffcent we also calculated the rolling resistance for OEM tires. in the project we also used my 2005 suburban z71 4×4 to get some real world vs epa numbers it had a drag coeifficent of .45 and tires with greater resitance than the 2009 but delivered 20 mpg in realworld highway driving. We used vehicles in nearly every class and used suburbans from 3 diffrent generations to see how vehicles change over time (used 99, 05 and 09 suburban k1500 4x4s). I dont have the project any more my only copy remaining was on my computer that was stollen from my house in the end of July, but you said so your self drag is a bigger issue at highway driving, and that was factored in showing that the prius is effecient because of other features on it and not necisarily the hybrid drive train that on a long road trip is just a very heavy paper weight as its not activly poering the wheels and the batteries have been depleted. If larger vehicles cut their weight , drag and rollign resitance they could be much more fuel efficent and pwoered by smaller motors, like the up and coming 2.7l v6 going into the f150 or the 3.0l TDI in the Ram

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            The Prius gasoline engine runs on atkinson cycle which is inherently more efficient than otto cycle… until you take it out of the designed performance envelope which is how you see situations like when Top Gear showed the Prius versus the M3. Unless you are doing your calcs in hilly conditions or abnormally high speeds, the Prius drivetrain still should have been more efficient than the V8 SUVs/trucks. Yes, the Prius is optimized in many ways for fuel efficiency in the chassis, aero, tires, but the drivetrain itself is still very efficient and I’d be shocked if a RWD/4WD 4 speed V8 was more efficient/lb in anything but the most abnormal of conditions. There is a reason you see semi trucks carrying large payloads rather than fleets of Prii with smaller payloads — but that is abnormal when looking at passenger vehicles. Again, since we are talking about weight, driving with a stop and go cycle should have been included before declaring a “most fuel efficient drivetrain”… In that case, it will be the drivetrain that is most correctly sized for your given parameters.

            Did you real world test a 2009 Prius? My experience in them is that they blow the highway number out of the water until you start hitting 70+ mph or mountainous terrain where the “just enough” power output starts getting pushed.

            Either way, I think the old saying about lies, darn lies, and statistics plays out here. If you get to set the boundary conditions, you can make the data dance how you like. It is even easier with trucks where you often have multiple final drives to choose from rather than cars that are usually just available in a single configuration.

          • 0 avatar
            Carilloskis

            Real world testing was done at 75mph in colorado and we dindt have access to a prius to test the suburban was used to show the statistica variation between real world conditions and EPA conditions and the 3 diffrent generations of suburban where to show the affects of diffrent changes on the same model over time. the lowest freeway speed I recall seeing is 65, with 55 in down town areas of Phoenix and Denver. About an hour in every driection from where I currently live the speed limit is 80 MPH on I 15 and I 80. that and the high elivation and mountain passes where i have live, combined with hot summers and cold winters which degrade battery life combined with the depth of dischage constantly diminishing makes me feel like the hybrids dont fit the driving environment that I’m in. What can I say i grew up driving manual transmission VW TDIs my little brother has the TACC dream car in white (Jetta TDI wagon manual), and my mom has had a 2004 Jetta TDI and 2012 Passat TDI (both totaled by my younger siblings) and a 2015 Passat TDI on order and those cars spanked the Prius in real world fuel economy. I averaged 50 MPG on the Passat in mixed driving but Diesel is more energy dense than gasoline, so i didn’t include TDIs in my comparison as the fuel type is diffrent and there is a huge diffrence between real world and EPA fuel economy on TDIs.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            And there we go. The deck is completely stacked against the Prius (high speed, high altitude, steady state driving) and you got the result that you wanted so you can now make the claim that the Prius is inefficient. Statistics do work.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Carilloskis,
          Did you pay actual money to this college you attended where you learned that a Raptor is more efficient than a Prius?

          • 0 avatar
            Carilloskis

            No I had a full ride and I never stated that the Raptor was more effiecnet than a prius, just that its drive train was more effcient due to the amount of forces it was overcoming. It was more than just wieght over mpg calculation, dont forget that 4×4 trucks are boxy and have more drag, drag= weight the vehicle must move, also it took into account the more agressive, less fuel efficent tires of the trucks and SUVs. There was also calculations on the rotational mass of the larger heavier wheels and tires that the trucks where equiped with.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            Carilloskis,

            Too bad about your stolen computer. I would like to see your excel-based project.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        I’m the one who uses Excel (Actually LibreOffice, but still), and I get the same looks every year.

        I bought a Buick LeSabre for $700. The owner before me traded it in for a Mazda Protege for “better gas mileage”. For $700, I did quite well.

        And, compared to my 1995 F-150, the Buick actually paid for itself in fuel savings. I have the receipts for that.

        Now, someone explain to me why people will start bidding wars for Saturns that get 35 MPG, but will pass on a Buick LeSabre that will get 29.

        Jim Morrison was right. People are strange…

      • 0 avatar

        But they will thats they scarry part

  • avatar
    Carilloskis

    I find it funny that people who dont own trucks want a gas floor when it would serve to rais the cost of nearly every good and service. Any thing you buy would be more expensive, as it has to be shipped by truck, any service, ie plumber, landping, electrician, those people generaly drive BOF trucks or Vans some of them drive older used trucks that are not the most fuel efficent.

    Most people the fuel economy of the vehicle they are purchasing is the tie breaker in a purchase when all of ther things are equal. I bought a 5.4l Raptor instead of the 6.2l b/c the off road performance is the same in both trucks. I only cross shoped the 5.4l Raptor with the 6.2l Raptor. the 5.4 could be had for invoce pricing where as the 6.2 was MSRP plus also played a factor in my purchase as well. I live 1.5 miles from work yet since i bought my truck i have put over 70k miles on it doing truck things and going off road nearly every weekend. I did the math once that even if I got a free prius , the maintnce insurance and fuel costs would be more than the cost of driving the raptor those 3 miles everyday. Plus the ergonomics for most cars are not right for me, as i have a very tall toruso and sit very high and hit my head on the roof of most carsand can even stick my head out of the sun roof and look like the flinstones pet dino driving around. I dont critisize you for your lives devoid of anything of intrest just going to and from work everyday and not doing anything fun because you have a sedan and can only go to starbucks or the mall on weekends, while I am tearing across the dessert and exploring moutain forests and sking in alpine wounderlands despinte there being 8″ of snow on the interstate on my way ou the mountain. DSo go back to your boring drone lives in a sedan and stop attacking people who bought their pickups to allow themselves the freedom to have fun.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I didn’t know you could get a 5.4L Raptor! Do they still sell those? I have only ever seen the 6.2, I would be very interested in the 5.4L version. I have heard the 6.2 is an especially bad gas hog compared to the other V8 trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      cartunez

      The people who want to condemn a truck imagine that nobody ever needs a tow or anything heavy delivered. They seem to not realize that the very fuel efficient vehicle they drive wasn’t delivered via pink flying unicorns.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      It is trivially easy to arrange any sort of tax such that businesses don’t pay it. For example, resale certificates that let you buy goods for resale without paying sales tax. We already have untaxed diesel for off-road use, it would take nearly no effort to have untaxed or lower taxed fuel for business use. So I call concerns about increased delivery costs a red herring.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        No need for more useless regulation telling citizens of a supposedly free nation that they can’t do something because someone else doesn’t like.

        The number of people that would be putting untaxed fuel into a tank would be astronomical, and fines from it would be in a deficit from the cost of enforcing such a law. Many people skirt the diesel tax and that’s not even a large price difference.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @Hummer

          At $10K fine for a first offense, nobody in my area is putting untaxed fuel in anything it shouldn’t be in. Similarly sales tax fraud exists, but is not a huge problem because most people don’t want to do jail time.

          This is not a difficult problem to solve. Not that it matters, since politicians have no balls.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Darn my response disappeared

            I actually just wrote up a response on how to build a system with relative ease that, if done properly would never allow untaxed to be detected.

            But basically if the difference in price was great enough you can bet that 10k would more than be worth the risk.

            Oh and basically I’m aware of a former congress member that uses untaxed diesel in his F250, different state.

            ie, this problem you claim, doesn’t exist, and the day such a “solution” exists will be the day I’m consulting my father on how to open a business.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Hummer, I was able to post by using both the Opera browser and the FireFox browser.

            I repost using the other one when my comment in the first browser disappears into the massive server void.

            This will require you to be logged in on both browsers but the log-in system is stupid, it lets you do it.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Years ago, I read a review of the original XTerra, or some other XTREME product for the youth of the day to go enjoy all varieties of outdoor activities. The writer noted that his son and friends (who were pretty much exactly on target for whatever was being reviewed) preferred to just throw a tent and sleeping bag in the back of a ratty old Prelude.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      I, too, enjoy tearing across “desserts”. Mostly on weekends, like yourself. So delicious!

      Dunning-Kruger posterchild.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Attention TTAC-ers, all who want a pickup truck but don’t have one – wait for the price of gas to go back up. You’ll be snatching up that gently used full size truck you always wanted for pennies on the dollar.

    I did that after Hurricane Katrina when refining capacity was strained and gas was well over $3 a gallon. Got a two year old F150 for roughly 50% of the original price.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    The future is going to be a mixture of vehicles running various fuel types. No need to condemn the next person(s) for their respective choice of transportation.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Reading these comments to the excellent articles at ttac is one of the highlights of my day, and the comments of this topic are no different.

    Some of these comments are truly comical! Like EVs, PEVs and Hybrids will ever amount to anything other than an insignificantly small percentage of the total vehicles on the road in the US.

    The problem for the EV-centric is that there is way too much oil available on the planet! Maybe in 200+ years this MAY change, but none of us is going to be alive in 200+ years.

    Quit trying to effect a mass behavioral-change and getting people to buy EVs. It ain’t gonna work! If people want EVs, they’ll buy them. The vast majority does not.

    BTW, the price of oil will go up again. Bet on it. And I’ll bet that the F150 will set sales records again this year, regardless of the price of gasoline.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Curious to see how clever engineers working in different industries (e.g. vehicle mfg, power plant design, oil and gas production, et.al.) don’t seem to realize they are all working (in their different ways) to solve essentially the same basic problem. This problem has so many dimensions and is so complicated (even the future technical possibilities are quite uncertain) that there is no simple eureka solution like a gas tax, etc.

    There is a huge amount of uncertainty on so many fronts. Because of ‘fracking’, oil and natural gas are fairly certain to remain cheaper than most people would have dreamed a few years ago, but how much cheaper? Tesla may actually teach Detroit something about the car business, or not. Because of the Japanese earthquake, nuclear power looks a lot riskier than before. What about global warming? What about V. Putin? What about continuation of the 30 year old Chinese economic boom?

    All anyone can do is plow ahead and hope for the best. There is no guarantee that one technology or another will prevail, although some are surely better bets than others.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I thought the purpose of the gas tax was to fund infrastructure. I’d be willing to discuss raising it for that purpose. Raising it to shape my purchasing choices…not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      bk_moto

      That is what it is for, which I agree is fine, but it also has the ancillary effect of shaping your purchase choice. Higher gas prices are a natural economic disincentive to purchasing fuel-thirsty vehicles.

      I guess what I’m saying is that whatever the reason for raising fuel taxes, it will still shape your purchase decision (depending mostly on how sensitive your household budget is to fuel prices).

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Call me crazy, but it has always incentivized me to go get a better job which is why I no longer teach High School. Cars are an expensive thing to be in to but I have the bug so I wasn’t going to spend my life commuting in a ratty Saturn SW1.

  • avatar
    bk_moto

    These types of articles always strike me as a little odd. I mean, are there really people out there buying cars who are saying, “Hey Bertha! Gas prices have been going down for a couple months. That means they’re gonna keep going down forever! Let’s buy that Expedition instead of that Prius!” ?

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