Chart Of The Day: Gas Prices, Trucks And Automobiles

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

Courtesy of our own Tim Cain. The fain green line represents gas prices, starting from the peak price of crude oil in 2014. Elsewhere, we see market share figures for passenger cars, SUVs/CUVs and pickup trucks. We’ll be keeping an eye on this as the months roll on. Crude oil dipped below $70 a barrel today – truly a black Friday for world oil markets. Let’s see how consumers respond in terms of new vehicle choices.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • Jimbob457 Jimbob457 on Nov 28, 2014

    First, pump prices have to go down. Then the vehicle buying public has to decide they will stay down for at least a few years. Last, the motor vehicle buyer has to have occasion to make a purchase. What you get out of all this is a lead-lag relationship that is only beginning to emerge. The first phase has already mostly happened. We are in the middle of the second phase (wha' happen? - 'fracking' dude). The third phase will play itself out like it has always done in the past. The value of motor vehicle inventories will adjust. 'Gas guzzler' good - econobox bad.

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    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Nov 29, 2014

      @Lorenzo It would not surprise me if the US taxpayers would bailout the "high cost or over-extended frackers". The US taxpayers bailed out a dead GM and Chrysler and that didn't do anyone any good except the UAW. Oil production benefits 100-percent of our entire nation, not just the 6-percent that make up the auto industry in America.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Nov 28, 2014

    I do think Derek purposely chose the data the way he did, with a limited window of time and a limited number of variables that affect vehicle sales. I do think those cheap and extended loans play a role. As does economic activity and the average age of the US vehicle fleet. If people are trading in older pickups for newer pickups that have better FE is this bad? I think at least a 10-15 year period with the data I laid out above will give you far better information for trending and the ability to produce a better assessment. Fuel prices do play a role. How much? I'd say a smaller part than many think.

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    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Nov 29, 2014

      @Big Al from Oz " A person looking at buying a pickup would have already chosen a pickup." Yeah, that's been my observation too. Even the newest pickup truck buyers, those who never owned a truck before, decided well ahead of time that they were going to buy a pickup truck, no matter what. One young AF Lieutenant my grand daughter is currently dating, lovingly admired my Tundra while over at our house for Thanksgiving dinner. Right now he drives his dad's old hand-me-down Camry but I am certain that will change.

  • TW5 TW5 on Nov 28, 2014

    The product mix data is important, but whether or not people are making good decisions in the macro sense would probably be best represented by the UMTRI fuel efficiency data. Fleet fuel economy took an unexpected plunge in September before consumers could react to falling prices, and it didn't budge in October. November numbers will be interesting. Also will be interesting to see what happens to VMT as fuel prices ease.

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    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Nov 29, 2014

      @TW5 It never ceased to amaze me, when gas prices were at all-time highs, that no one I saw pumping gas was buying any less of it. Now that prices are at $2.459/gal in my area (today), people don't seem to buy any more or any less either. This leads me to conclude that if someone wants that pick'm up, they'll buy that pick'm up, even if they really can't afford to buy, insure and fuel it. The irony is, that as of 1 Oct 2014 when my wife started working from home, MY gas consumption dropped dramatically. I have even stopped my gasoline deliveries for my AC generators at home because I haven't tapped into the two 55 gallon drums I kept on hand for the cars and the generators. My gas is actually going stale. So for me, I haven't been able to enjoy the price drop of gasoline because my wife and I may venture out only once a week, or less. And while low gas prices are great for most of us, there are others who work for the oil industry in New Mexico who could possibly be let go, and be without an income when it is no longer profitable for their employers to extract the oil. Capitalism is a two-edged sword.

  • George B George B on Nov 30, 2014

    I would expect consumers to select the type of vehicle that meets their perceived need while opting for the more powerful engine choice when fuel is less expensive. Turbo engines allow manufacturers to sell more power while passing the CAFE test. As long as consumers understand how the EPA test differs from reality, I'm ok with this gaming of the system.