By on April 12, 2018

Remember the grim days of 2011-2014? Sure, they weren’t as grim as, say, 2008-2009, but if you remained employed — and owned a car — during both of these periods, you’ll remember the cratering of gas prices during the recession and the subsequent upswing. That upswing turned into a plateau, where lofty prices at the pump compelled many Americans to rekindle a romance with a small, fuel-efficient car.

The early summer of 2014 brought relief. A lot of it. Prices plunged, remaining relatively low ever since. Everyone and their mother rejoiced, then rushed to their local dealer to buy an SUV.

As of late, though, prices are again on the rise — especially if you live on the West Coast or north of the border. The national U.S. average pump price for regular unleaded hovers around $2.70/gallon this morning, but take a trip north and you’ll find a country where wallets are hoovered at every gas station in the land. National average price in Canada? Rising above $4.80/gallon today.

It’s enough to make you take a long, hard look at what’s sitting in your driveway.

Most people have a mental gas price threshold that, once crossed, grates on their psyche every time they fill up. Maybe it’s $3/gallon, maybe it’s $4/gallon, but for drivers who aren’t loaded to the gunwales with cash, there’s a limit to what they’ll happily pay for a gallon of 87 octane. Any higher, and thoughts of efficient little economy cars fill the mind.

Damn oil companies, damn government, damn OPEC — I’ll stick it to all of ’em by sipping this stuff like it’s single malt scotch, not Pabst.

Prices are expected to continue their ascent as summer driving season approaches and OPEC nations continue suppressing supply in a bid to elevate the price of a barrel of crude. That road trip you’ve got planned in July will almost certainly drain more dough from your bank account than last year’s.

In the spring of 2014, as local gas prices hit roughly $5.15/gallon, I said screw it and bought a Chevy Cruze Eco. Diesel-like highway mileage ensued. Take that, jerks. Of course, it would take some sort of cataclysm for such a price to appear outside a Sunoco station in America’s heartland, you never know what the future holds.

What’s your limit? How expensive does gasoline have to become before you consider any type of vehicular change? What would it take for you to supplement your Ram 1500 with an Accent, or switch your impending new car purchase from a V6 Charger to a four-cylinder Fusion?

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203 Comments on “QOTD: What Would It Take to Change Your Mind?...”


  • avatar
    Moparmann

    Well, I already have a Honda Fit Sport..I guess I’d drive the S-10 less, and the classic toys only go out on rare occasions. Still, anything ABOVE $3.00/gal. would give me pause.

    • 0 avatar
      Tryst46

      3 dollars a GALLON???? In the UK, we would kill for prices like that.

      We currently pay around £1.20 a LITRE. That’s £6 a gallon or US$8.53 at current exchange rates.

      But then, our greedy government is mostly responsible for that by adding 60% fuel duty and then charging 20% purchase tax on top of that.

  • avatar
    TDIandThen....

    Same. I’m going from a TDI Golf to a Miata / Fiata, and my threshold is around $2 g gallon. And I live north of that border so I don’t really know what a gallon is anymore anyway. Vive le small car Vive !

  • avatar

    2017 GTI cruises easily 34 MPG on the freeway. I will pay whatever. Then again if I feel the pinch there is always one of my motorcycles.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    I’ve always liked small fuel-efficient cars.

    …Ever since my dad ditched GM and bought a Honda in the 1990s. The 1991 Honda Accord coupe he bought was awesome, and that same kind of awesome is in my driveway today in the form of a 2016 Honda Civic EX + Honda Sensing. I’m a big fan of the Prius, as well.

    I have three kids in carseats now, so I mostly drive our bigger vehicle. But I *like* the Civic best. The only thing I think I could possibly like better is a Tesla Model 3.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      +1. I hate wasting things. I get annoyed when I can’t recycle a plastic water bottle, so I never understood the whole “gas is cheap let’s buy an SUV!” thing. You’re still wasting gas, duh. Plus, history tells you gas prices will rise anyway, and you and your stagnant salary will be forced to sell your big stub-nosed pecker substitute.

      I’ve always gotten the most fuel efficient car that’s fun to drive. I haven’t owned a V-8 in well over a decade and if (er, when?) manuals disappear for good, I’ll go electric or hybrid.

      I just feel no sympathy for shortsighted idiots who buy a big truck based on the current price of a product whose price historically has fluctuated so much.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Using my current annual miles driven and income, fuel would need to cost $16.50/gal for me to feel enough pain to make a fuel economy-driven change.

    In a SHTF situation (whether personally or nationally), I’d likely fall back on 3800s and Panthers and just drive as little as possible.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      I’m with you on this. I drive about 3000 miles a year. At, say, 20 mpg, that’s about 150 gallons. So if gas went up to $20 a gallon, I would be paying $3000 a year instead of $450. That might be enough to make me consider a new car. For anything less, one would lose more on the depreciation hit.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Yea I don’t really have anything that gets super bad gas mileage, the H2s get 11-12, and if I want to be cheap on fuel the SS sedan can do about 24MPG on the highway. knee jerk reaction to a slight price increase is hilarious to watch. People buy the little clown cars and then turn right around and go back to what they had. High fuel prices hurt businesses more than consumers, most people would rather stop buying luxuries than be forced into some tiny midsize clown car.

  • avatar
    Tiberius1701

    When the cost of gasoline crested $4.00/gallon back in ’08 I replaced my ’05 Mustang with a 2008 Fusion stickshift. Looking back that is one move I would not make again. Fuel would have to be above $4.00/gallon for a significant amount of time for me to change what I drive.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    My car gets 34 mpg, and I have plenty of fun driving it, so I could care less. Come at me, Big Oil Bro. This, folks, is the beauty of small(er) cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Tryst46

      I have a 2.2 litre Turbo injection car that does 47 miles/gallon on a run in the UK. But then it’s a diesel but has less emissions than most petrol cars due to a good CAT.

      That’s why the oil companies have tried to create bad press for diesel cars, they are way too fuel efficient and the oil companies are so poor that they need us to buy more fuel. The big bosses have had to live with buying a yacht every year instead of buying 2 yachts so we need to sympathise by buying fuel guzzlers rather than diesel cars so they can afford their second yacht.

  • avatar
    W.Minter

    There is no limit, people will drive when they need to drive.
    E.g. Italy: “European Regular” (RON 95 / AKI 91) costs 1.55 EUR/litre, which equals 7.22 USD per gallon (all taxes included) (Diesel = 6.76 USD/gal). Those prices are somewhat outrageous even by European standards, and purchase power in Italy is partly rather limited. (But what would you do as a government to generate cash when parts of the society are not very keen on paying taxes …)

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “There is no limit, people will drive when they need to drive.”

      Sage observation. And true.

      People who have to worry about the price of gas, ought not own a car.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    I’ve never owned anything that averaged more than 26mpg because I like fun cars and I like to drive. My priorities are such that I don’t care what the cost of gas is because life with a boring car is death.

    Also, being in Houston, higher gas prices means higher and more stable salary for me.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      “I don’t care what the cost of gas is because life with a boring car is death.”

      COTD.

    • 0 avatar
      GaryR

      100% agree. I’m going to enjoy my 3 and 4 litre engines with manual transmissions while I can. I figure within 10 years we’ll be 100% electric. If not that, then 100% automatic.

      Now is the time to start appreciating electric vehicles. What makes them sexy and fun? What are their sounds and smells? It’s a transition that a lot of male egos are going to have to make, or will have to suffer through a terrible driving experience.

      • 0 avatar
        MoparRocker74

        NOTHING makes electric cars sexy or fun. Theyre terrible all around, no matter how ‘fast’ you can make them. Bullet trains and jet liners are faster than any electric car will EVER be…how sexy or fun are those?

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “NOTHING makes electric cars sexy or fun.”

          You’ve never driven one Especially a performance car. My favorite is the instant response you get when you hit the throttle. No waiting for a downshift or the engine to gain rpms. It just goes. The quiet has it’s advantages too. You can have your fun without attracting a lot of attention.

          The Corvette E-Ray seems to still be in the works based on recent trademark activity. They were granted an extension to file a statement of use on Feb 2nd of this year. It’s probably based on the mid-engine and will be sexy as well as fun.

          http://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn86850510&docId=AER20180202064427#docIndex=1&page=1

  • avatar
    gtem

    It would take a hell of a lot. I already drive fully depreciated older cars, gas and liability insurance and a few parts here and there are the totality of my ownership costs. I suppose if gas got much over $4.00 gallon I’d prioritize scooping up some sort of smaller 4cyl sedan as my next beater rather than something cushier and with a V6. 4Runner stays come hell or high water (it does really well in high water btw :p) Current 4cyl Ranger gets about 24-25mpg commuting, and again is stupid cheap to own. Bought for $2k, planning on selling for $2k. Not much there to break or wear out, the few things that do can be replaced or repaired incredibly cheaply. Junkyard is chock full of spares.

    • 0 avatar

      I think I’m the same drive older cars it would have to be over $4.00 for a while for me to change. Now I put a lot of miles on my 300M at 22-23MPG (20-25k a year). so at $4.00 buying a cheap used commuter would make sense. My wife daily drives our Durango at 13-15mpg, but at 6k miles a year that really dosen’t hurt as much.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Yeah the difference of dealing with this lower value depreciated category is we’re not talking about dumping one newer car and eating the cost of a bunch of depreciation, then paying a bunch of sales tax etc to get into the new car. If you are doing some car-hopping, it’s just the added cost of re-registering the new vehicle (and risk of buying someone else’s problems).

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah looking online I could get into a used sonic or scion for just under 3k. If gas really did go that high I would go that route an another SUV for family hauling as required.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I’m already noodling on the next winter commuter once I’m done with the Ranger. Was initially leaning towards something oddballish (GM A-body, luxed-up K-car, V6 gen 1 Solara, another Maxima?) but if there is indeed a sharp spike in fuel prices, perhaps I will be looking at 4cyl econo-car options: unloved Proteges, Prizms, maybe hunt down a 5spd XV20 Camry or something. Are Sonics really getting down into the $3k range these days?

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            200k-mile Sonics maybe. Of course, if gas does spike those cars won’t be $1500-3000 any more.

  • avatar
    The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

    $7.50~8/Gallon might make me consider a a PHEV/Electric car for a DD. Otherwise, nope. Current DD might generously do 15mpg combined. The rest of my fleet is all toys.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    About $3.00/ gallon. Both of our cars get pretty decent mileage, but the next car will have to do better, regardless of where fuel prices may go.

    It might be time to look at that Volt…

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      If $3/Gallon is breaking you to where you’re looking at a $30k purchase, you’re going to want to take a long look at your financial planning.

  • avatar
    CobraJet

    My 2017 Buick Lacrosse gets 33 mpg on the highway at 70 mph cruise. My 69 Mustang, on the other hand, gets 10. I would be driving the Mustang sparingly, as I did the last time gas was almost $4.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    19 mpg combined in the 4Runner isn’t peaches, but my necessary miles driven per year amount to about 6000, so gas would have to exceed anything we’ve seen here in the states before I would consider getting rid of it.

    Weekend excursions would simply become a more expensive luxury.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    Somehow the number “$5/Gallon” gets thrown around quite a bit on CNBC, Wall Street Journal, etc., as the psychological gas price barrier. But that number seems too low. People are going to drive however much they want or need to drive. As for myself – both of my cars are gasoline-only economy type cars, so the next upgrade would be an electric or hybrid compact… which would take at least $10/Gallon sustained for many months before I’d consider.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      That $X/gal is an arbitrary number because the price of gasoline in America is still artificially kept high. We have our own cartel in the US consisting of Big Oil, State Gov’t and Fed Gov’t.

      The little people don’t stand a chance against that money-scamming machine.

      As opposed to the price of gasoline in Mexico, at any PEMEX station.

      Here’s a factoid for you, when gas in the US averaged $2.509/gal, I was paying ~$1.20 per gallon of RegUnl in Ensenada, BC, Mexico – the every day price BTW.

      It’s true that the Mex Gov’t subsidizes SOME of the gasoline available to the masses, and I’m cool with that. Everyone can buy it. Even me. Nobody cares that I’m a gringo.

      What Mexico exports to the distributors in the US by way of El Paso, TX, is the same gas they sell to their own people, except they charge the US more for it.

      So the only way we in the US can see gas prices lowered is because of an oil-glut and overflowing storage capacity – both of which are controlled by the US cartel.

      You can bet your @ss the price of gas will continue to climb higher as long as the cartel can make money on it.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    It would take a lot more for us to make a change. None of our vehicles exceed 20 mpg and two of three take premium but my commute is only about 9 miles each way.

    The wife’s van is getting up there in miles because her commute is long but until we are ready for something smaller there’s nothing with significantly better mileage on sale today. The 2.0T craze hasn’t hit minivans yet, and besides I’m not sold on their virtues.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      30 percent more expensive! Premium vs regular gasoline.
      ($3.30 vs $2.60/gallon)
      It’s ridiculous, and our Lexus turbo-4 requires premium.

      • 0 avatar
        Car Ramrod

        The gap has drifted wider, not just in dollars but on a percentage basis. Here in TN the gap is about 80 cents. I’d love to know why.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          The only reasonable explanation I’ve heard for this is that the oil produced from fracking is less conducive to refining into premium gas compared to imported oil. As the US has been producing more of its own oil over the last several years this has gotten worse.

          That would explain why in 2008 you could see $4.25/$4.35/$4.45 on a price board but now it’s $2.59/$2.94/$3.34 or something similar.

      • 0 avatar
        SunnyvaleCA

        >>> 30 percent more expensive! Premium vs regular gasoline <<<

        Come on out to California! We're only about 7% apart. ($3.78 vs $3.53/gallon) Of course, our so-called "premium" is only 91 octane. :-(

        I'm guessing we'll hit $4 any day now due to the biannual switch between winter and summer blends. This seems to always cause some "unexpected" refinery shutdown or other hiccup in supply.

        https://gasprices.aaa.com

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    Timely article since we were discussing this at work yesterday. We had about 10 people talking about rising gas prices over lunch and like many on this board, the psychological barrier seems to be anything above $4.00/gallon. Ironically, some of the poorer people around here also drive vehicles that probably get the worst city mileage as there are a ton of older trucks in this area. There are also a lot of people who buy way more car (truck in this instance) than they can afford. A $2-3 increase per gallon really impacts these folks. History repeating itself unfortunately.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      It’s expensive to be poor.

      Seriously.

      • 0 avatar

        True it is expensive to be poor. Truck based SUV’s and trucks for instance can be kept on the road almost forever as a DIY person which is why they are common among people with little money. Also older cars and the same analogy.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Especially with dilapidated urban roads that get the blind eye treatment, the old BOFs can roach along for longer before something like a balljoint pops. You can get a good 3 degrees of negative camber in the front of of a jellybean Explorer (due to immensely worn suspension) and just keep driving it like that without losing a wheel, but I’ve seen 3 W-bodies this spring in Indy with a front wheel folded under.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “blind eye treatment”

            So, all of them?

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Hey man if you live north of the beltway in the rarefied air of Carmel or Zionsville the roads are A-okay.

          • 0 avatar

            My durango has been similar. Stuff breaks but it takes a long time for it to be undriveable and it tends to be cheap to fix. My only issue right now is the heater core is going and thats cheap parts but it will take alot of my labor do to the design.

  • avatar
    junkandfrunk

    At $10 a gallon is I think where I would draw the line. It would take 8 years for payoff for a Bolt, and 12 years for a Mazda 3, which are both pretty reasonable periods to own a daily driver in the sunny state of California. Granted that is also buying new, so… My Oldsmobile gets 18 MPG currently.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    I’ve been driving 6.2 L Raptors for the last 8 years even when gas was $1.50-ish a litre here…..so I don’t much care what it costs as long as I enjoy driving it! Mind you, there is a threshold somewhere….just not sure where yet…

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @IHateCars – I’ve owned trucks all of my life. The amount of money I spend on fuel tends to be rather consistent. The price goes up, I drive a bit less or plan my trips more wisely. Wintertime is a killer because my F150 can get around much easier than the now-ex’s Sienna. Ironically, the poor mpg vehicle tends to be needed the most when you have to drive in conditions that burn gas.

      I’m not sure what my personal “threshold” will be for mpg but since I’ve had kids, if my expenditures affect my sons lives, then I alter what is causing that negative impact.

      • 0 avatar
        IHateCars

        Lou….that’s a good policy, kids definitely change the dynamic! But I’d rather get a Ducati! ;)

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @IHateCars – funny you mention Ducati. I’m considering buying a Diavel.

          • 0 avatar
            IHateCars

            I had a ’15 Diavel Stealth…..traded it in for a 1299 Panigale last year, wanted back on a sportbike as long as my body is willing. But the Diavel is a fantastic machine….more sporty than it let’s on, looks killer. I’d get it over an XDiavel if I was back in the market for that type of machine. I highly recommend it…

  • avatar
    deanst

    It costs over $100 to fill a pickup gas tank in Canada, so a pickup owner could easily spend over $3,000 a year for gas. Are pickups that much fun?

    My cars are old and still reliable, but I suspect my next purchase will be a hybrid or electric. I’d rather the government subsidize my purchase of a new vehicle through rebates and not be forced to buy gas with huge levels of taxation. If crude prices went back to old price highs, the retail price of gas in Canada would be crazy.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Better to spend $20k on a new Hyundai than $3k/year in gas for something you actually want to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      what kind of pickup?

      A modern DOHC V6 with 8-10 speed auto transmission easily gets 25 mpg on the highway.

      ” I’d rather the government subsidize my purchase of a new vehicle through rebates and not be forced to buy gas with huge levels of taxation. If crude prices went back to old price highs, the retail price of gas in Canada would be crazy.”

      Government puts taxes to artificially inflate gas prices so the consumer compliantly seeks government subsidies on expensive electric cars(I don’t think Canada subsidizes regular hybrids anymore) to make driving seem slightly less costly. Boy Canadians respond to government action more reliably than lab mice.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Agreed. Here in California, it’s a double incentive to buy a hybrid or ev. You’ll save by having other taxpayers pay for part of your car and you’ll save by spending less (or none) at the pump.

      Here’s the long term problem – when was the last time a new electricity generation facility was built in the state? One is getting decommissioned by SoCal Edison that the ratepayers are paying to decommission. No replacement.

      • 0 avatar
        MoparRocker74

        And how long til degraded batteries and the inevitable electrical gremlins kill an EV? Hell, a $600 iPhone is out of date and practically worthless in just a few years. EVs are a lousy long term investment. EV kool aid drinkers will say ‘but the mfg’s are standing behind the batteries’….well crack dealers give you the first few rocks for free to get you addicted, then youre hooked. EV batteries will be the same song and dance.

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          I think with proper engineering, battery life can be good. Consumer’s mag found and tested a 200,000 mile 2nd gen Prius 2006 or 2004 and compared it to their test years back, of the same model when it was new. There were tiny differences in the performance numbers.
          On the other hand, there was the Civic Hybrid that my nephew owned. Honda really failed on that one. His car was losing performance, and he got some sort of software update by Honda to “fix” the problem. All that did was get him past the mileage limit on the warranty, and it did not improve the performance.
          I know that the Prius only operates the battery between some 40% discharged and 80% full charge in order to not stress the battery. I do not know for sure, but have heard that Tesla runs their batteries far closer to the 0% and 100% range. I await to see how early Teslas batteries hold up.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The Kalifornia energy model is to outsource electricity production and therefore export pollution and risk. Quite ingenious, while the followers of their state religion either do not understand or care about the hypocrisy of the policy.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “The Kalifornia energy model is to outsource electricity production and therefore export pollution and risk.”

          There is truth in this. The interesting other half is that a very non-Kalifornia state like mine is happy to breathe that pollution in as long as locals can get some (and politically powerful corporate types can get most) of the resulting greenbacks. We’ll take their nuclear and toxic waste as well as long as there are some dollar bills taped to it.

          I can’t tell if it’s symbiosis or mutual parasitism.

      • 0 avatar
        dartman

        Jkross22, there is a reason that electric utilities in CA are decommissioning and not building new generating facilities: Its because they don’t have to. Their customers, both industrial and residential, are now producing enough excess electricity from solar panels on roof tops and other installations, (.i.e school parking lots that look like covered parking). I haven’t paid for electricity since 2015 and am paid at the wholesale rate for the excess production. CA limits residential installations to a 110% limit of usage for the 12 months prior to solar installation. My system cost was covered this year, so I am good for the next 15-20 years. The ignorance displayed on this site is sometimes astounding.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “It costs over $100 to fill a pickup gas tank in Canada”

      My truck has a 136 litre tank. Lately I’ve been spending $130-150 to fill up. We are sitting at 1.19/litre.

      Great Vancouver area fuel prices are stupid. Currently around $1.52/litre. Ironically, they would pay less for fuel if they allowed that KinderMorgan pipeline to go through. I wonder what those protesters will drive once fuel hits 2.00/litre?

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Someday, I would like to replace my 5.7 Hemi 1/2 ton Ram with a 6.4 Hemi 3/4 ton Ram. I am not worried about gasoline prices.

    Oil prices will be moderate over-all for a very long time, due to ample and rising supply. The US is already the world’s leading producer of natural gas and will, within five to ten years, also be the world’s leading producer of oil.

    Generally, Americans favor larger and more powerful cars and trucks. Luckily, the world is awash in hydrocarbons and there is no end in sight. Reserves keep rising, not falling. “Peak Oil” has gone the way of the USDA food pyramid, carbon dioxide “pollution”, catastrophic man-made global warming, and the Y2K apocalypse: old and busted myths.

    The fracking/horizontal drilling revolution that has transformed American energy has started hitting other petroleum producing nations and will transform their industries as well.

    (Gasoline prices may continue to rise, regardless, as long as voters keep raising their own taxes, but that will be due to a shortage of intelligence, not a shortage of oil.)

    When it comes to hydrocarbons, we are living in a golden age of plenty, not a time of shortage. Vote in people who will not raise your taxes and go buy whatever car or truck suits your fancy. If that means a hamster-powered microcar, more power to you. You will save money at the pump and get the added psychic benefit of deluding yourself into believing you are helping save the planet. Win-win. You can even look down your nose and judge people driving trucks. Win-win-win.

    Whatever you like, get out there and let the good times roll. In all of world history, humanity has never been this prosperous. This bounty is the love child of capitalism and hydrocarbons and there is plenty more where that came from.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “Oil prices >>>should<<< be moderate over-all for a very long time,"

      They should, but there are no guarantees of price stability. The first two spikes were the result of supply disruptions, the next was a unexpected surge in demand, and the most previous was a pileup of the first two and a commodity bubble.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      “Someday, I would like to replace my 5.7 Hemi 1/2 ton Ram with a 6.4 Hemi 3/4 ton Ram.”

      I’m liking the new 2500 Power Wagons, in dark grey they look great. Either that or a F250 Platinum may replace my ’12 Raptor SCrew when the time comes. I’m not crazy about the TT 3.5 in the new Raptors….

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      I know I will get flamed for this, but here here goes.
      We know CO2 traps heat in the atmosphere. How much can we dump into the atmosphere? Can we continue to multiple gigatons of the stuff into the indefinitely?
      It is not how much we can did out of the ground that is the limiting factor, it is how much the atmosphere can take.

  • avatar
    Chi-One

    I’m fortunate to have a company car and home office. Our vehicles: ’18 MKC 2.4T, ’14 Grand Cherokee 3.6, ’16 Challenger 5.7, ’69 442 455, ’67 Malibu 283, ’13 Camaro 3.6.

    Having lived thru 25 cent gas in the 60’s thru the oil crises in the 70’s and everything since, gas price is what it is.

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      Yes I was in college in 1973 driving a long daily commute in a 66 Mercury Comet V8. That summer gas prices DOUBLED from 25cents to 50 cents per gallon. We thought driving would become a thing of the past. People were rushing to buy anything other than what they had at the moment. VW bugs, Pintos and Vegas were in high demand. All I could do was keep what I had and pay the price. Somehow we survived.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      Ive got a ’09 Challenger R/T 6spd so no MDS. For what that car is, its amazingly efficient. A car that can have you into the triple digits before you know it, cruise the freeway all day in comfort, best style on the road, huge trunk, room for 4 (5 in a pinch) yet at a steady 80mph Ive turned 25mpgs. Not bad for a 4000lb ballbreaker.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “It’s enough to make you take a long, hard look at what’s sitting in your driveway.”

    Or not. The Echo averages mpg in the low 40s, and my DDs for the last 23 years have been in the 35-45 range.

    • 0 avatar
      The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

      An Echo in my driveway would make me want to take a long, hard look at my life.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Agreed. My life would be a mere echo of what I once thought it could be.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        I look at the half-dozen other cars in my yard, and I’m well satisfied.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I have many fond memories of fun times with friends in a early-build Echo (Sedan, 5spd). They’re really fun little cars owing to a stupendously low curb weight paired to the 106(?) hp 1.5L. People rant and rave about how zippy and fun Fits and Mazda2s are, the Echo undercuts their curb weights by almost 400-500lb. That’s a lot.

        • 0 avatar
          warrant242

          If they don’t run, they can’t cost money to fill up, n’est ce pas?

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Ha. The only one that is flat dead is the Accent with a broken timing belt. Everything else will move under its own power to a greater or lesser degree.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          The 2000-05 Echo is a fine exponent of the Fiat 128 class of vehicle, bumpy ii. Haters gonna hate [shrugging].

          Do you really average in the 40s? I’m a frequent borrower of a Yaris sedan, and the the best I’ve ever done on a tank is 44 mpg and change highway. Non-highway mileage varies from high 20s (true urban driving) to mid-30s (true suburban, not exurban). That particular car has the 4-speed auto; I’m guessing your Echo is a stick shift?

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            My friend’s Echo squeaked out 50mpg IIRC on a tank that was primarily rural highway (55mph driving). My dad’s Fit did a best tank of around 45mpg on a similar route on a spring trip to the Adirondacks on back roads. Of course, I think a modern compact (Jetta 1.4TSI, Civic 1.5T, Elantra 1.8, etc) could easily match or even best those numbers over the same route. Heck I suspect my wife’s Camry could crack 40mpg under those conditions.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            My ’17 Jetta has the 1.4 turbo and will return 35-36 mpg at a steady-state 85 mph, A/C full blast. Without the A/C, I see 40-ish.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I was seeing 43.5 mpg displayed on my rental Jetta 1.4TSI’s onboard monitor, and that was with me going 77-80mph in mixed traffic (so I was accelerating but then doing a fair bit of coasting on and off). It was a surprisingly fun car to wring out even with an automatic, I’m typically not predisposed to such behavior. Between that and the very solid ride over bad urban pavement, it left a favorable impression. I was truly smitten with the 1.8TSI SE Passat rental I had just prior to the Jetta, I was seeing right in the 40MPG range with THAT at a steady state 75-77mph adaptive-cruise. If I was shopping lightly used midsizers for commuting purposes, a Certified one of those in the $16-17k range would frankly be my top choice.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Can’t speak to its’ long term reliability (it’ll be off my books once the lease is over), but the 1.4 TSI is a helluva motor, and I’ll commit sacrilege and say it’s probably MORE drivable with the automatic. I have the stick, and I love it, but objectively, it’s geared too tall to take full advantage of the motor.

            And the 1.8 is also a winner. VW knows its’ way around turbos.

          • 0 avatar

            I have had rental Passats and Jettas they are great engines. Of course the check engine light came on for about a 50 miles of the rental on a 25,000 mile car (jetta). If I could get a cheap one with a great warranty I might consider them because they really are great drivers. A relative bought a passat last year has been getting 37 mpg in mixed commuting.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            hence my “certified” caveat haha. I heard some initial musings of leaking main seals possibly due to the PCV system overpressurizing the crank case (something they’ve struggled with historically) but I have not heard any real horror stories first hand or of any real pattern failures. My brother diagnosed one for a stretched timing chain or wonky Variable timing module or something, but that can happen with just about any modern car with enough neglected oil changes.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Yes, mine is a manual. I don’t have the log book in front of me, but IIRC fillups are something like 9 gallons for 400 miles of 2-lane rural driving. I’ll try to remember to calculate the overall 2-year average tonight.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            One other thing to note is that the Echo narrowly preceded a tightening of NOx standards which decreased fuel economy modestly in some cars.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            32,996 miles on 778.2 gallons of non-ethanol 87 = 42.4 mpg.
            Coincidentally or not, that is almost exactly what I got in the smart car back when I had it.

          • 0 avatar
            ttacgreg

            With moderate hypermiling techniques, keeping rpm low, coasting in neutral when safe to do, and stay within legal speeds, I can get high 40’s out of my 2000 corolla.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    At 32mpg highway and 27 mixed real world, not based on the paper sheet, in a mid sized sedan it would take a lot to get me to move. I can pay for a lot of gas those car payments would be to get me over 40mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      This is the other question that wasn’t asked but is critical – what is the worst mileage you would accept in a new (or new to you) car.

      I’m struggling with this one, as gas is $3.75/gallon where I am. Do I get a quasi fun hybrid with decent mileage but pay more for the car, or do I just bite the bullet and buy the V8/Supercharged or Turbo V6 and live with mileage that will be roughly 5-12 mpg less than the hybrid?

  • avatar
    SearMizok

    I’ve always had a limit when evaluating my next lease or purchase, of 30mpg. I guess I’ve figured at 30mpg, I can stand the price of gas at least as well as most others, since most others are likely driving something that gets worse than 30mpg.

    For my next vehicle, I’m hoping to get something more in the upper 30’s.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I’m always hedged against rising gasoline prices; therefore, my psychological threshold is probably anything over $1/gallon.

    Anyway, gasoline volatility is just an opportunity to make smart purchases. Low gasoline prices have created a glut of cheap used cars. High gasoline prices would create a glut of relatively cheap SUVs. If oil prices hit $4/gallon again, I’ll probably go Suburban or Tahoe shopping.

    Straw hats in winter.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I’m with you TW5. Maybe the next gas scare can send some Armada and even Tundra prices tumbling down to where I’d be tempted to plunk some cash down on a newer truck.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    OPEC? oil companies? WRONG. OPEC no longer has much long term price impact. If they cut production US and Canadian producers will rush in to fill the void. Oil companies – refined products are a commodity, the companies take are price takers.

    Government – there you go. California requires multiple blends which nu-necessarily increase the price substantially. Governments waste billions of gas tax dollars and demand more.

    Most importantly, oil is dollar based – weaker dollar and more US deficits = higher price.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      ^DING DING DING!!!!^ We have a winner!

      I cant remember where I saw this, but I came across a breakdown that showed the oil companies (the ones who locate the oil, get it out of the ground, possibly refine it–in other words create something of value) profiting around 4 cents per gallon of gasoline. The Feds are getting 12 cents…3 times the amount, just for sitting around and doing zip. The local/state take varies. THERES your problem, folks.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    I’ve always preferred smaller cars. A pessimist by nature I usually buy with the assumption that fuel prices could double from the time of purchase. I’m rounding out my forties and I’ve seen this before.

  • avatar
    ernest

    I sold my F350 Powerstroke right before the last price spike (better lucky than good), but drove my Grand Marquis through it all. 12 yrs and 210K miles worth, to be exact. Those of you that think it would have been advantageous to dump the car and buy something smaller need a refresher Math course.

    Right now, the simple solution is the same as the last go around. Wife has the longer commute, therefore she drives the more economical car. Would I consider downsizing from a Camry or the Charger? No.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Let’s do the math. I’ll arbitrarily define notice as saving $100 a month and care as $200.

    My F-150 with the baby vacuum cleaner motor returns a smidge over 20 mpg. I drive entirely too much lately, and bought about 800 gallons last year.

    I doubt that any of the more economical alternates that I’d really want – Challenger, Chevy SS, V6 Grand Cherokee, Explorer SHO, etc – would break 25, but let’s call it that as a best case example. That would save me 13 gallons a month, which is to say that it would take $7.50 gas (and the associated fire sales and food riots) to notice, and also to say that a downsize this minor for fuel economy reasons is absolutely pointless.

    Conceding down to settle-for instead of want, a V6 Camcord would give an honest 30. Saving 22 gallons and one quart per month. When gas hits 4.49 I’ll notice and at 9.00 I’ll care.

    A whole lot more than the $2.59 that I paid this week.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Word.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      This is NOT how you do it. You panic and dump the paid-off SUV to incur unnecessary transaction costs and depreciation in order to buy a newer economical car. You do not build a spreadsheet or dabble in the maths. You see 35mpg and you are happy. You then sell the economy car when fuel prices drop and resale values are poor and buy the SUV again.

      You also sell your stock at first sign of a market downturn to “minimize your loss”.

      Come on, people.

      • 0 avatar
        Car Ramrod

        This all day. Even if you’re a cash buyer the buy high sell low mentality is hitting consumers trading their vehicles at the first sign of trouble, to say nothing depreciation of transaction costs.

        Methinks those most likely to flip cars at the wrong time are the same people who will waste 15 minutes in the Costco gas line to save 10 cents per gallon.

      • 0 avatar
        MoparRocker74

        No no NO! Paid off SUV? Who DOES that? Surely youre buried in negative equity, so of course you go get completely hosed as you trade it in on a high mpg penalty box with a depreciation rate comparable to Nigerian currency. Your payment goes up probably $250, you extend the debt timeline and probably are paying a few more points of interest, but youre saving $100 a month in fuel costs. THATS how you math.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        You are overlooking that people are emotional, reactionary beings first, and reasoning, responding beings second.
        Remember the used Geo Metros selling for ridiculous prices when gas prices spiked over $4?

  • avatar
    raph

    Maybe if gas was 10 or 15 bucks a gallon and there isn’t a cheaper alternative like E85.

    I specifically choose where my house is located allowing me to walk or ride a bike to most any place I need to go. Food, medical, work. and entertainment are 30 minutes or less by bike and no more than 1.5 hours walking.

    Now that summer is here I try and bike most days unless I have some sort of load larger than my back pack.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      I recently moved and just about everything is within 3/4 mile, including virtually every food pleasure and vice. The deal I made with myself is that I’m allowed to eat it, but I have to walk to it. Last weekend I treated myself to DQ.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @spookiness, good plan. I had a counselor who lived within a few hundred yards of my school. Was a vegetarian, did yoga etc. Drove to work every dang day regardless of the weather. That always made me scratch my head.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Lol, I love to get my monster burrito at Moe’s and its a little bit further down the road so it takes about an hour to get there by bike but with the round trip I end up burning up most of the calories from the meal.

        • 0 avatar
          JD-Shifty

          I really doubt that. running might burn 600 calories per hour. so walking maybe 300 and you’re trying to burn off thousand of calories from processed garbage.

  • avatar
    TR4

    Ever since I started driving in 1971 my personal cars have all gotten around 25-30mpg. Even $0.30/gal seemed like plenty to a high school kid back then.

    I’ve noticed over the years that it takes a doubling of prices over what people are used to to change buying habits. ’73-’74 it went from $0.30 to $0.60 and people started buying more imports. ’79-’80 it went from $0.60 to $1.20 and people switched from V8s to V6s and 4s and Oldsmobile Diesels were introduced. So I would say it would take about $5/gal to change most people’s buying habits today.

    For myself, if it went to $8/gal I would seriously consider a motorcycle for my daily commute.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Doesn’t bother me. Gas mileage in the G is bad, even for its weight and performance, but it is what it is. I just got the car a year ago and the gas cost doesn’t bother me. Even if it goes up to $4/gal here I’ll live. Enjoying the drive is worth it.

    That said my next car will definitely get better mileage but hopefully have the same level of performance.

  • avatar
    HuskyHawk

    Depends on the miles driven. I can telecommute a couple of days a week, such that my annual mileage is about 6-7k. I’m considering a V8 powered gas hog GX460 or other poor mpg options (new Bronco, 4Runner).

    But we’d probably downsize the other car my wife drives (more than double my miles) if I got such a large vehicle. So gas prices matter, but they aren’t the only thing that matters. We need snow capable vehicles, and at least one needs to have capability to carry larger items and more people as needed.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I already drive a Mazda2, even doing mostly urban driving (and about as flat-out as it can do), I still average about 30MPG. Not only that, I drive less than 10k miles per year. Even with our higher Canuck gas prices, I’m not spending much on gas. For now (hovering around $1-1.25/L), I’d be tempted to find something cheap, used, and less efficient for my next vehicle (I’d still probably want something with a smaller footprint though). If it breached the $1.50/L mark though, I’d probably end up with either something like a Golf, or an EV though.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    My cars are currently paid for. I drive a V6 Camry that gets 28-30 on the highway. If I switch to something smaller how much am I saving when you account for the down payment and the monthly payment? That is my dilemma.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Same for my Scion. If gas goes from $3 to $4.50, moving to something that gets 40 mpg will save me $375(assuming 10K miles/year). Hardly worth making a car payment for that. I figure the Scion’s good for another 100K, I hope to get rid of it before then but it won’t be because I want to save money on gas.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Not nearly enough.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I suppose in one sense, my threshold was already reached last year since I bought a cheap fuel efficient car for my 100 mile commute when gas was in the low $2s. At that point it was about a 3-4 year payback period, and every cent that gas rises will shorten that.

    On the other hand, I can’t think of a price where I would drive my fun cars much less. Maybe $25/gallon. Certainly high enough that society would have entered a state where driving my Viper might not be the highest priority.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    I’d tolerate $10/gal gas/diesel if it would get all the motorhomes off the two-lane backroads.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I filled up my wifes car for $2.85/gallon last night in Detroit area. I don’t get it because my last fill up was about 50 cents cheaper per gallon the day before when I filled up my car.

    Anything under $3/gallon doesn’t bother me. Once it passes that, I start thinking why am I paying so much. I don’t enjoy getting gouged so OPEC nations and Russia can fill their coffers. Anything over $3/gallon, if sustained, would cause me to seek out more fuel efficient alternatives.

    I think I would actually appreciate higher gas prices but was hoping that it would be an increase in the national gas tax to fix infrastructure. Unfortunately, consumers don’t learn and are like crack addicts when it comes to fuel consumption. They want bigger, thirstier as soon as the opportunity arises and then get stuck with the bill and get upset about it when fuel spikes. It is a bad cycle for automakers too who are even worse crack addicts when it comes to selling inefficient and gigantic vehicles in quest for profit. I understand the consumer desire and the automakers desire, but it seems that automakers this time are not planning for the future, cancelling small cars, once again putting too much focus on short term profit.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    My group of friends had a discussion about this in the bigger financial picture mentioned by others here.
    When the Prius went on sale we compared it to the comparable Tercel/Echo. Some short work with a calculator concluded that it would be about 150K miles before the price difference between the two cars would be equalized.
    Obviously at higher fuel prices the break even point would happen sooner.
    I am like some others here; My vehicles are paid for and old. No need for insurance beyond liability. The cost of any vehicle, even a beater for a few thousand, would pay for the fuel cost/use of what I have now for many months, if not years.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Lets say you have a Chevy Tahoe that gets 15mpg in daily driving and is worth about $15K at current gas prices. Lets further assume that gas prices jump up to $6 per gallon, in which case the Tahoe value drops to $10K at best. Now consider a new RAV4 as a replacement that gets 30mpg and costs $30K. To make up the $20K it costs to trade in the unwanted Tahoe for the sipper RAV4, you would need somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 years to make up the difference from fuel savings at 15,000 miles per year. Now consider that in 4 years fuel prices drop back down to $4 per gallon, and a Tahoe starts looking more attractive, so you find one that is 4 years newer than your old one and see that it will cost you $17K because everyone wants one now that gas is cheap, and your 4 year old RAV4 takes a depreciation hit because saving gas is out of fashion and it is now worth $12K. Thus you have taken an $18K hit in depreciation and need to pay an extra $2K to get back into a popular used Tahoe, for a total loss of $20K, but you did save $8K in gas during those 4 years of RAV4 ownership. So total loss for the trade and trade back is $40K after taking into account market swing depreciation/appreciation, which is a lot of money to spend in order to save $8K in gas expenses. If you keep the fuel price ranges within the $3 to $5 per gallon range – it gets even more expensive to save on fuel expenses.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      That assumes you want a Tahoe at all.

      I can’t imagine wanting a Tahoe unless you have a large family. (I now have three kids, and I’ve crossed into the world where vehicles that big can make sense for as a minivan which can tow.)

      If you can do the job with a RAV4, owning the RAV4 is better in every way.

      • 0 avatar
        IHateCars

        “If you can do the job with a RAV4, owning the RAV4 is better in every way.”

        Except for the fact that you have to drive a RAV4…..ewww! I’ll take the Tahoe, all day, every day.

  • avatar
    Oldschool

    As a CA native, I’ve witnessed the vast increase in gas prices during previous spikes, and what’s worse, we only have I believe 2 or 3 refineries in the entire state and if one of them is out of commission for any reason, the prices rise immensely due to “special blend” that cannot be imported from other states.

    People are flipping out over $3.00 of a gallon of regular, well folks in some parts of CA, it’s already $4.00 and summer isn’t even here yet!

    The shocking part is the price differences from say Chevron gas and Joe Blow corner gas, you could easily pay an additional 30 to 50 cents more a gallon for Chevron or Shell vs the off brand stuff.

    It seem like Californians just put up with it, and because most of the population in its big cities tend to be well off compared to the rest of the nation, they don’t complain as much, but for the poor and middle class, it’s getting extremely hard to survive here.

    I would say $5.00 a gallon is the threshold on which at those prices, I believe it will reduce everyone’s driving habits. Instead of drivers wasting gas going to multiple stores for shopping, you might have them go to just one or 2. Fast food and dining restaurant sales would sharply decrease, and to the coffee lovers, that $5 mocha frappe at Starbucks could go towards your car for gas. So general consumption waste among consumers would drop dramatically if prices rose to $5 in CA as at that point even though we do have a bunch of rich phucks living here, it’s about a roof over your head vs life’s comforts n conveniences because the cost of living is so freaking insane in SoCal and everyone needs a vehicle here to get around.

    • 0 avatar
      Dingleberrypiez_Returns

      Was waiting for someone from CA to chime in. Doesn’t help that a new 15 cent/gallon tax was just added. Thanks Jerry Brown. That $ damn well better get applied to fixing roads, and not pandering to the special interests of some bicycle coalition. I’m anticipating the jump to $4/gallon once we hit summer.

      Since I drive less than 10k miles a year, doesn’t matter much to me. Maybe it’ll get rid of some stupid Uber/Lyft cars that have been clogging our roads. I’d pay $10/gallon if it meant they’d all leave.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Tough question really. I am fortunate I suppose to have the space and I have opted to go for quantity in lieu of huge car payments on one new car. The vette’ and the Lacrosse are currently the most fuel efficient rides, with the Vette’ taking the overall win. I have considered trading the lacrosse for a Volt to hedge against a sharp increase in gas prices. We spend a lot of miles cruising to and from soccer practice and games with two very active middle school boys.

    There is zero chance we would curtail their activities so we would either eat the gas increase or swap out for a better choice.
    Flip side, we have really dialed in our fuel points benefits. The local Kroger runs 4x fuel points typically once a month, so we pick up an Amazon gift card as we purchase quite a bit monthly from them and use the fuel points for $1 off a gallon, with which we will both go and I will fill both cars to ensure that I get the max 35 gallons at a dollar off. This happens at least 1x a month sometimes more. I figure I do about $600 in gas savings a year this way. Not huge, but hey that is $600 I can spend on something else that is way more fun.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    At $4/gallon, I’ll drive my 30 MPG/E85 CRX rather than my 20 MPG/93 Infiniti for most of my summer routes.

    At $6/gallon, I’ll buy a 300cc motorcycle.

    Any clear sign of a long-run price increase between now and next March and I’ll take delivery of my Model 3 rather than giving my reservation to my stepfather.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Curren DD gets 22-23 mpg combined on a 60 mile per day 20% city/80% hwy cycle. (2010 Toyota Highlander 3.5 V6 full time 4wd all terrain tires) Since I try to live well within my means that fuel economy is just fine even at $8 or $10 per gallon. I’d like a bigger tank slightly better fuel economy because I’d like to go more than 350 miles between fill ups

  • avatar
    srh

    Gas in my neck of the woods is over $3/gallon. I am fortunate to be in a financial position where it makes virtually zero difference to my pocketbook, but nevertheless I hate paying those prices.

    So I leave the F-150 with it’s 3.5L EcoThirsty engine in the driveway and drive my leaf most days. My handy L2 charger app tells me that I’m driving the Leaf nearly 1000 miles per month, at a cost of about $30. That’s $200 worth of gas for my truck. Of course at least that’s better than my old Raptor, which was lucky to average 13MPG.

    I’m well aware, by the way, that this is likely a foolish decision. While I got the Leaf used for what seemed like a steal, I’m paying about $75/month for insurance and depreciation is no doubt at least another $150/month. But regardless I love not buying gas. Particularly in Oregon where our jobs program forces us to pay someone else to perform the apparently dangerous job of filling our gas tanks. I also love that there is virtually no maintenance required for the Leaf.

  • avatar
    LeBaron

    My cars are paid for and I drive less than 10,000 miles per year. I can’t imagine gas getting to the point where spending $30,000 to save at the pump would make sense economically.

    If I ever have to replace one, gas mileage will not be at the top of the list of needs. I’ll consider it, but it won’t cause me to pick one vehicle over something else that I’d rather have.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    Even if gas went to $4-5/gal i wouldn’t give second thought about what I drive. I commuted with a 2G Intrepid 3.5 back when gas prices were $4. It went above the rated 25, but never past 30, However, for the size of the car and engine, I was content with my fuel cost, and I had a longer commute, by 20-25 miles more (one-way) than I do now.

    I easily get 31+ in my 200, which is my daily driver unless I take my two, soon to be three other vehicles. I get 19-21+ in my ’06 Ram 2500 (Cummins 5.9, empty; 14-17 while towing, depending on weight), 25+ in my ’93 Concorde (but not above 30 like the Intrepid,even though it has the slightly smaller 3.3) and poised to get probably 25+ in my ’91 LeBaron convertible (3.0/4spd auto) once it is fully restored and ready to go this summer. For each vehicle’s age and purpose, I am pretty satisfied with the fuel economy I get. I’ve “rotated” and have driven them all on my commute, which is 35 miles one way, and each have consistently surpassed their highway MPG ratings.

    My wife gets 31+ in her ’15 Outback, too. Her commute is much shorter, only seven miles one-way. Once in a very blue moon I take her car and it gets impressive mileage as well, again surpassing the MPG rating. I guess uneventful, flat stretches of freeway does help.

    Over $6/gal, maybe I’ll think about a Pacifica Hybrid plug-in, keeping my other cars for fun days. Maybe FCA will come to their senses and build an inoffensive small/midsize hybrid. The Dart could have been that car.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    One of my cars is a cheap second-hand nissan leaf, so I don’t particularly care what my other car gets.

  • avatar
    markf

    Excellent. 6 more months of rising gas prices and people will start to panic and spend 30K to save $8 per fill up. Maybe the Price of a used LX570 will come back down to earth…….

  • avatar
    KevinC

    According to the trip computer in my Golf R, I’m averaging 31.2 mpg since my last fill-up. Sure that may be slightly optimistic as trip computer numbers tend to be, and I’ve done a lot of highway cruising on this tank, but jeez, I’ve got 292 hp and AWD, and can get anywhere near that kind of fuel economy? And that number is pretty typical. Couldn’t be happier with my performance/economy equation. No need to look elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Jeez, I get 34 in my Jetta. You must do a ton of highway driving…or maybe I should stop driving like I’m restaging my favorite scene from “Baby Driver.”

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      The Golf R seems to be the champion of price/performance/economy. If it came in a traditional wagon form, it’d be a no brainer for me.

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      375 HP and RWD here (’17 Charger R/T). Car knocks down 30ish on trips consistently. Outweighs that Golf R by what… a ton? I’m kinda happy with my performance/economy equation as well.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Based on the vehicle you drive, gas prices are not an insignificant cost factor.

    Example:
    Family 1 with two grade-school kids buys a brand new Grand Gigantor SUV 15,000 miles a year. I’ll prove I have a sense of humor, and say Grand Gigantor gets 20 mpg average. That’s 750 gallons of gas a year, 62.5 a month. At $2.25 a gallon, that’s $141/mo in gas. At $4.50 a gallon, the bill goes to $281.25.

    Now, I don’t know about y’all, but when I had two grade school kids, $140 a month was actually a decent amount of money to me. If that’s pocket change to you, then salud, Don Corleone.

    Granted, these are kinds of calculations that people should make *before* they buy a vehicle, not when they’re 24 months into a 72 month note (or, more likely, 84 months for ol’ Gigantor). But it’s not an insignificant amount of money.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Would you expect them to go to a small sedan? Because that’s highly unlikely. Even though millions of families get by just fine with a sedan, its just not the choice of most people today. So, they buy a cross over that gets 25 mpg. Wow. 5 mpg advantage for the trouble of taking a depreciation hit on a perfectly good vehicle and starting the 84 months all over again….with the difference in what you owe on the old SUV and what they stole it from you for.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Let the price rise. I don’t care. Three motorcycles, a Fiat 500c Abarth, and I only use the mini van when I actually have to haul something.

    Besides, my Yamaha Zuma 125 scooter (75-80mpg) is going on the market sometime this month. Higher gas prices, easier to sell.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    I should really get an electric. Where I live gas is way over average and electricity way under. My usual usage is very short trips. We have 2 cars. I just … I like … I should really get an electric.

  • avatar
    sutherland555

    When I first got my driver’s licence, my Dad went through a series of crappy 2nd hand cars (86 Century, 84 Firebird w/V8 and an 88 Crown Vic). The Crown Vic was easily the best of the bunch but all were gas guzzlers. A night out with my friends, that’s at least a quarter tank gone. When he treated himself and got a brand new 1999 Civic (that was eventually handed down to me), it was a complete revelation. Fun and fuel efficient. It was everything his previous cars weren’t and was better in every way. After that and now that I live in downtown Toronto, small(er) cars FTW.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Well I guess maybe 10 bucks a gallon , but I drive a ton say 25, to 35,000 a year BUT I get a car allowance so I am covered, I went from 42 MPG to maybe 25MPG with the switch from my tdi wagon to my used 2011 saab 9-5 but outside of having to fill up twice as much not a big deal, my wife works 10 miles round trip so her pilot stays in this gas hike, it is paid off and will be passed down to the teen drive next year. Where the real gas price question is not what price but if your car is totaled next week and gas is at $5.00 a gallon do you buy the same size car/ truck or go smaller. I think that is where we would have to think about it, in our case we would more than likely buy what is out of favor and skip the better gas mileage. we tend to keep the family car a long time and my cars change when they die or my kids will need a car.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Higher gas prices would make me take our C-Max on more trips and leave the LX570 parked until we really need it. But I’d have to be convinced that gas prices were going to exceed $8 per gallon, and stay there, to actually sell the LX and replace it with something different. We just don’t drive enough for gas to be a huge factor in the budget, except when we’re budgeting for road trips.

  • avatar
    HahnZahn

    Because I can see beyond my own nose, I bought an Impreza when I sold back my TDI. Gas prices will go up again, and though the Impreza doesn’t get amazing mileage, I’ll be in a position to sell it easily when gas does go up because it’s compact and perceived to get good mileage. I’ll then make the switch to some sort of hybrid or electric. I actually sorta wish I’d waited a little longer for the Kia Niro to be released, but it seemed like every idiot in a Sentra started targeting my TDI right after Dieselgate, and I just wanted to be rid of the thing.

  • avatar
    HahnZahn

    Because I can see beyond my own nose, I bought an Impreza when I sold back my TDI. Gas prices will go up again, and though the Impreza doesn’t get amazing mileage, I’ll be in a position to sell it easily when gas does go up because it’s compact and perceived to get good mileage. I’ll then make the switch to some sort of hybrid or electric. I actually sorta wish I’d waited a little longer for the Kia Niro to be released, but it seemed like every idiot in a Sentra started targeting my TDI right after Dieselgate, and I just wanted to be rid of the thing.

  • avatar

    my demand for fuel is inelastic – meaning it doesn’t matter what the price is, I buy it.

    And when I consider fuel, it is the cheapest thing I put into my car.

    Let’s assume I get 20 mpg and drive 12,000 miles/year (neither of these are true for me but I’m taking the average American).

    That means I use 600 gallons of fuel – so at $3/gallon I’m spending $1,800/year on fuel.

    Now at $4/gallon I’m spending $2,400/year on fuel.

    At $5/gallon that’s $3,000/year on fuel.

    In the grand scheme of things, if these minute differences are going to break your bank, you need to rebudget your entire life.

    And if you’re going to spend many many thousands on a “fuel efficient” hybrid that costs far more than a regular car, you need to rethink your math.

    • 0 avatar
      markf

      “In the grand scheme of things, if these minute differences are going to break your bank, you need to rebudget your entire life.”

      Exactly, but math never stopped anyone from making poor car purchasing decisions. Years ago my old landlord decided that when gas hit $4/gal he and his wife could no longer “afford” to drive their Dodge (Chrysler?)Aspen that was paid off. Solution: Buy a brand new Toyota Tacoma and finance it! Cause it feels better when a fill up cost you $80 instead of $100…….

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Gasoline is a bargain, at any price.

      Imagine having to go back to the agrarian ways, which is what so many ill-informed mentally-stunted greenweenies want Americans to do.

      Gasoline, diesel, kerosene, medicines, oil and oil by-products have brought America to today’s advanced technical niveau.

      All the American cartel is doing is extracting a price from the buyers to fatten their own bank accounts.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        ” ill-informed mentally-stunted greenweenies”
        Contempt, much? I guess insulting name calling is in vogue.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “All the American cartel is doing is extracting a price from the buyers to fatten their own bank accounts.”

        Then why is it that almost every other ‘first world’ country is paying 3x as much for fuel than we are? Could it be because the government has been holding that price artificially low for the last 8 years?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          ” why is it that almost every other ‘first world’ country is paying 3x as much for fuel than we are?”

          Those gov’ts are taxing their own people to death for bad governance.

          In the US, collusion exists between Big Oil, State Gov’t and Fed Gov’t, with the end goal being to make “We, The People” pay as much as possible for the fuel commodity.

          There has never been a shortage of oil. And last year’s glut proved it.

          I say, maximize production, and export the lot we don’t use. Let someone else pay.

          Hey, Canada is awash in oil. Pumps much of it South through the US for export at Gulf Ports.

          There’s no reason why gas should cost as much in Canada as it does.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Rick,
      Unless you can afford up to $60 less a week to feed and clothes the kids, which might surprise is probably half the people in the US.

      How many people on $15-$20 an hour can afford or adopt your situation?

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Let me tell you a story, when the Wolverine Pipeline burst back in Ought Two, and the price of gasoline west of Lansing spiked to $4.50/gallon. It took me a whole benjamin to fill up a Chevy G-Van to three quarters to move my apartment. Those were the days!

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’m retired, and live within the parameters of my budget. My D.D. 2015 EB Mustang will deliver decent mileage “IF” you keep your foot out of it. The 05 GT with the 4.6 can get thirsty. I only take it out when I go for a cruise. If a nice little cruise cost me $25 ??? I figure thats the price ya pay to play. If I can’t afford to drive it, then it will sit in my garage and look good…Gas can hit $10 a gallon, and I will drive even less. I’ll keep what I have. I’m with the others , the math just doesn’t work out.

    Costco this morning was 124.9 a litre. Rough math, including exchange, works out to $4.00 USD per US gallon. The guy in front of me was filling an F150 crew. The dude was pumping for a long time. I’m thinking he hit $130.00 or more. ??.Maybe the guy just plain likes driving his F150 ??

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    During and after the last gas crisis we changed our lifestyle, not solely due to gas prices but it was a factor. We moved much much closer to work, so I commute ~6 miles each way and my wife ~10. Gas simply isn’t a factor for us now as a result. In fact, if high gas prices make it possible to get a smoking deal on some lumbering tank of an SUV, I’d be happy to take a look at something bigger than expected. I can’t afford a new Tahoe, but at 20% off? Sign me up.

  • avatar
    ect

    Steph, your Canada/US cost comparison is way out of whack. At the moment, the average posted price in Toronto is C$1.349/litre, which works out to US$4.05 per US gallon. A far cry from US$4.80.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ ect…..I thought the same thing. I don’t think Steph calculated exchange in.

  • avatar
    DJM

    $1.07/L right now at the local Costco here in Southern Ontario. I filled both vehicles up there today, almost 100 Liters worth before that $1.42 wave from Toronto hits.

    Both sedans are turbo 4’s, although the Jetta is really good on fuel the old A4 is not, almost half the fuel economy but it’s only does maybe 7-10000 km a year.

    I can’t remember where I saw it, but someone was predicting $1.70/L this summer. I’d start to really think about replacing the A4 (BEV,PHEV) at $2.50/L.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    Everyone should just buy sub 400cc motorcycles to buzz around on… 65+MPG offsets the 18mpg my truck gets…

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      When I was going to college and living at home a few miles away, I did a mix of bike and motorcycle commuting in the summer. My brother’s ’65 S90 would get a genuine 100-120mpg. That little 1.8 gallon tank seemed like it lasted just about all summer! Going to work, there was barely even a difference in commute time since we lived on a hill. 7 minutes on the motorcycle or maybe 8 in the bicycle? Different story going home, 20 on the bike, although the S90 really had to be wrung out with maximum momentum conservation to carry anything close to 40mph up the hill. When I was feeling especially opulent I’d ride my 500CC Yamaha XS500 in (45-50 mpg), and take the long way both to and from work.

  • avatar
    OE Supplier Veteran

    Thank you ect. Saved me making that correction.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    I’m not giving up my Challenger, just like I didn’t give up my ’00 TJ or my Rumble Bee when fuel prices spiked. I just found a second car that was better on gas but that I actually WANTED to drive: PT Cruiser GT and Sebring coupe, respectively. Not the ultimate cheapskate route, but having 2 very different vehicles has its own advantages while making a longer roadtrip more affordable. My R/T Challenger can hit 24 in steady freeway driving so a fuel price spike is definitely not going to give me pause if I want to hit the road. My commute is short, so I can always decide I want to walk or bike it.

    If you have a less efficient vehicle you love, the answer is a cheap beater. Let that do the scut work of the daily grind. Youll save fuel and wear and tear on the important vehicle.

  • avatar
    Tryst46

    At current American prices, I’d probably be driving a gas guzzler that you could use the petrol guage to measure your speed.

    With UK prices at over 8.50 US dollars a gallon, I drive a diesel because it’s far more economical than the equivalent sized Petrol engine, plus it has a LOT more torque. My 2001 Saab 93 TiD SE cost me UK£500 and gives me 47 MPG on a run If I stick to 70 MPH (up to 55 MPG if I drop to 60 MPH) and 40 around town. I just had my Road safety test done (MOT) and part of it is the emissions. A fail is >1.5 and the Saab pushed out 0.52 which is lower than most petrol engines, so the hype about diesels being dirty and causing more pollution is vastly exaggerated. A diesel additive in the fuel to reduce emissions would push it down even lower.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I’m looking at 2016/2017 Impala’s, Fusions and Sonata’s. With the recent uptick in gas prices I’m more inclined to look harder at 2.5 Impala, 1.5EB Fusion and 1.6T Eco Sonata since those are the best MPG combos on all 3 without going hybrid and those are easy enough to find for the most part.

  • avatar
    George B

    I’ve never paid money for a new car to try to save money at the pump, but I consider the total cost of ownership when I need to replace a car due to wear or new needs. Gasoline prices above $3/gallon caused me to consider and ultimately choose a midsize sedan with a 4 cylinder engine instead of a V6, but only after the 4 cylinder engines quit feeling under-powered. If I thought fuel price were going to rise to $5/gallon, I’d consider buying a hybrid, but only if I still get decent luggage space to match the seating positions. Need room for 4 suitcases to go with seating for 4. As the price premium for hybrids goes down, I’ll reconsider them at a lower fuel price point.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I get 30mpg out of my BMW, and 35mpg out of my GTI. And I work from home, and/or drive to the airport once or twice a week. Gas could be $10/gal and I wouldn’t give two craps. I probably wouldn’t even drive my Rover any less than I do, given I put about 1500 miles on it last year. Gas is so far down my list of expenses it doesn’t even matter.

    I hope gas prices go up – less congestion, fewer Canyoneros in my way.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “I hope gas prices go up – less congestion, fewer Canyoneros in my way.”

      That didn’t happen at $5.++/gal in the US. Why would it now?

      The way I see it, people would p!ss and moan a little louder but they would keep buying that gas, mashing the go-pedal for jack-rabbit starts just to get ahead of the other jerks on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Funny, seems like people were paying stupid money for diesel rabbits and BoF SUV sales tanked in that time period. Problem was it didn’t last long enough, nor was $5/gal expensive enough, nor was it particularly widespread. I’ve never even paid $4/gal other than in San Francisco back then.

        You can bet that if gas went to European levels and stayed there, after 4-5 years the auto market in the US would look VERY different. Look at how different the Canadian market is, and their gas is only 20% or so more expensive. Though Canadians also tend to have less disposable income for a variety of reasons.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I’m thinking that as the price of oil rises, more and more of those old wells in the US will be uncapped and will be brought to life again. It’s nice to see NM become a player again.

          That should mitigate the price of gas at the pump some.

          OTOH, I’d like to see the US step up production of oil in the US and then export the bulk of it.

          Much has been written about Trump not being tough enough on Putin. Putin’s economy is driven by a dog and pony show, oil and gas. The way to get Putin’s attention is to hit him where it hurts — in his pocket book, oil and gas.

          With all the reserves the US still has untapped, there will never be a shortage of oil again. The only way to drive up the price is through manipulation by the US cartel which consists of Big Oil, State Gov’t and Fed Gov’t, all in cahoots together to milk the public for all its worth.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @HDC: I have a feeling you’re going to regret saying that, one day. The US doesn’t have nearly the reserves you may think they have, though I agree it will do its best to moderate the effects of rising oil prices.

            Gasoline as a fuel will soon become prohibitively expensive. Diesel is already hurting across the board. Oil is going to have to be reserved for vehicles that have no other option, meaning currently military and commercial aviation, since ground vehicles do, now, have a viable option. I expect a major shift towards electric and electric-hybrid cars and trucks coming far sooner than most want to believe.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The oil-bogeyman has been played by the libby lefties and greenweenies for decades and last year’s US oil production proved them wrong.

            Even if gasoline goes up to more than $5/gal, there won’t be any less traffic on the roads. I didn’t see any reduction in traffic the last time gas was ~$5/gal.

            I believe that electric vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles should be available for those who want them, but I don’t see them becoming mainstream until the planet runs out of oil.

            In about 200+ years, or so.

            So I don’t want to see any taxpayer funded subsidies for these vehicles.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    In 2011, I drove a V6 Audi A4 at ~25MPG 650 miles per week, at $4.50/Gallon premium in the DC area. About $140 per week in fuel.

    I switched to a ’12 Cruze Eco, Honest to God 42+ MPG on regular gas at $3.90/Gallon. $70 per week in gas. That savings *alone* nearly covered the note on the new car.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    I buy vehicles according to need, not gas prices.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I drive a car that gets pretty decent mileage, but MPG was not my primary concern when buying it, even being unemployed at the time. I was just fine driving an Aerostar that used a fair bit more fuel before I got the Taurus. In otherwords, my move to a more efficient sedan was a coincidence, not a goal I was trying to reach.

    If gas got over, say, $7 or $8/gal, I would find me a little 5 speed 80s or 90s Honda and drive it, if I had a commute to worry about. But, would I sell the Taurus or completely stop driving it? No. Would I keep an Explorer on hand if I had one by then? Yes. The only thing I might drive less often would be the big block Ford truck, but since I am not currently, nor have I ever been, driving it, that isn’t much of a change. I would still use it locally and for whenever its services were called for.

    My point is, nothing would make me get rid of my poor MPG vehicles, I’d simply drive them a bit less. If I was forced to consolidate down to one vehicle and my current Taurus wasn’t on the table, I’d probably still get something I’d enjoy rather than what will save me a couple bucks at the pump.

    I absolutely do not approve of running out and going tens of thousands of dollars into debt when gas prices creep up, by getting rid of a perfectly good vehicle that serves your needs for a miserable little $#¡Гbox that will save you $12 a week in gas. If you were already planning on another vehicle, AND downsizing was the goal because of a multitude of reasons, I certainly wouldn’t argue with you. But doing it just because gas goes up is silly and short sighted. What are you really saving?

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      John check this low mileage sable wagon out:

      indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/d/mercury-sable-for-sale-by/6559759506.html

      Saw it while browsing and immediately thought of you haha. If it were closer to fall and I was done with truck-needs I’d totally go check this out for a winter car. Perfect for dog hauling, they just don’t make wagons that practical anymore. A cheap set of snow tires to replace the very worn whatever-is-on-there and she’d be good to go, as long as the transmission sounded healthy. I guess if it had the 3.8L that’d give me pause as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “If gas got over, say, $7 or $8/gal, I would find me a little 5 speed 80s or 90s Honda and drive it, if I had a commute to worry about.”

      — I’ll bet you’d be begging for a BEV whose ‘fuel’ cost would be well below $1/gallon-equivalent while still giving you reasonable performance.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    I drive a relatively newer car that gets decent mileage but the priority was on roominess for commutes and decent reliability then fuel economy. Until recently, the fuel economy was as stated by the car maker, 28/35 city/hwy, but now that I’m doing more local driving, and it’s still cold winter time, the fuel economy dropped significantly to the lower 20s!
    I’m at the point where I almost say… Who cares about gas prices much! I still need gas for the car though I won’t go out of my way much just to save $0.02-.05 cents/gallon as that itself uses/wastes gas!
    Hopefully, when warmer weather comes, the fuel economy will improve and I’ll be driving more highway mileage.
    Am considering a hybrid in a few years so hopefully will consider a CUV AWD vehicle even if it’s a Rav4 or Rogue though I’m hoping something like the Tiguan AWD hybrid will be available with a decent engine, affordable price and lots of interior room.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      How you drive is as important as what you drive. If you’re a ‘leadfoot’ then your economy will fall through the floor. Try being a little more gentle on the throttle and stick closer to the speed limits. Slowing down as little as 5mph can make a noticeable improvement on your fuel mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      I am anxious to see what the 2019 RAV4 hybrid will do. If it has all the drivetrain improvements that the 50mpg new Camry gets, it should be pretty good.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    @krhodes1 – If we wanted any of that, especially the getting trained like circus animals, it would’ve happened a long time ago.

    No you would “pay” in ways you don’t even realize. It’s not like a hefty cigarette tax when you don’t smoke.

    As we’d be scrambling to become Europe, expect to pay more for everything, along with losing a good chunk of your paycheck funding endless public transportation projects and other infrastructure having most everyone moving close to where the job are.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    In Canada, I would say sustained pricing over $1.50 / liter , while in US likely over $4.50 gallon would start to change habits

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    ’twas only a matter of time. It took a lot longer than I expected but I would not be in the least surprised to see gas prices exceed $4/gallon in the US before the end of 2019. There have been people saying, “It will never happen but I now believe it’s a fairly certain and market-changing truth.

    The value of all these Road Whale™ trucks is going to plummet. The mid-sizers will see some growth as a result. But if people want a truck AND economy, look for a new size to hit the market within about a year of the time big truck sales start to fail. Either that, or they’ll be electrified to the nth degree, potentially full BEV for most and plug-in hybrid for most of the rest.

    Meanwhile, expect a sudden surge in the smaller, more fuel efficient CUVs and a resurgence of the aerodynamic sedans–the vehicles capable of the highest fuel mileages while still full ICE.

    Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if this surge in oil prices isn’t a direct response to our current administration’s attempted abandonment of the global anti-pollution accords. By driving fuel prices up, the OEMs will have to continue improving fuel economy to maintain sales. The day of the 5 Liter+ V8 engine is dying outside of true commercial demands and even there we’re already seeing battery and hybrid electric options undergoing operational testing. The paradigm shift away from oil as fuel may have just been accelerated.

  • avatar
    Instant_Karma

    Here in rural Texas, land of the full size truck, the most annoying thing about the last gas spike were the Silverado, Ram and F-series owners puttering along doing 60 in a 70 MPH zone trying to save a MPG or two. I left my farm-plate Silverado parked and drove my 99 Civic hatchback. I drive the Civic the most anyhow because it’s more fun to drive than a lumbering behemoth that gets about half the mileage hauling nothing but air around. My truck should last forever that way, I’ll just spend 3 grand or so on another 4-cylinder beater car when this Civic gets used up.

  • avatar
    JD-Shifty

    Still getting 20-22 mpg in my 96 S-10 4.3 that has been paid off for decades. PLPD and about 250 per year in maintenance.why would I go buy a 4 cyl car?

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