Skip to comments.US drivers in SUV gas-guzzling buying
Posted on 12/07/2001 9:42:21 AM PST by cogitator
US drivers in SUV gas-guzzling buying spree
NEW YORK - U.S. drivers are buying gasoline at a feverish clip despite the nation's recession, due largely to low pump prices and an autumn buying rush for gas-guzzling SUVs, analysts said this week.
"Americans are driving more in less-efficient vehicles," automobile expert Mike Lucky of John S. Herold Inc. said. "Sales of SUVs and pickup trucks have been amazingly strong considering the recession, and low pump prices are keeping people on the roads."
Gasoline consumption for November averaged about 8.6 million barrels per day, up nearly 3 percent from last year, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API), despite a recession.
The robust gasoline demand comes amid a steep drop in retail pump prices to two-year lows of $1.12 a gallon and amid a dramatic increase in sales of sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks - some of the least fuel-efficient automobiles on the market.
Bargain financing deals by big automakers have helped push sales of SUVs and light pickup trucks 13.7 percent higher than last year for the month of November, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Meanwhile, half of the 20 best-selling automobiles so far this year have been trucks or SUVs, including the mammoth GMC Sierra and Dodge Ram pickup, according to data reported by automakers.
"The rate of purchase for new fuel inefficient vehicles is far outpacing the rate of retirement for older automobiles," said Lucky. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the number of vehicles on the road grew by 5.2 million between 1999 and 2000.
In October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that Americans' love affair with gas-guzzling SUVs reduced the average fuel mileage of all 2001 model year vehicles to 20.4 miles per gallon, the lowest in two decades.
The trend could become a curse to the the nation's energy infrastructure, which over the past two years struggled desperately to overcome regional fuel shortages due to refinery and pipeline outages.
"The lowest fuel economy since 1980 can be attributed to the increase in light trucks on America's roads," the EPA said in a statement. "Light trucks are less fuel efficient."
The current Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, first adopted by Congress in 1975 after the Arab oil embargo, require passenger cars to average 27.5 miles per gallon and light trucks to average 20.7 mpg. At the time, light trucks were allowed to get lower mileage because they were used mostly by farmers and small businesses.
If auto manufacturers increased fuel economy by as little as three miles per gallon, consumers would save as much as $25 billion a year in fuel costs, the EPA said.
That modest increase in fuel efficiency, the agency said, would also reduce 140 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year and cut the United States' reliance on foreign oil by 1 million barrels of oil each day - a boon as heightened tensions in the Mideast raise fears of a disruption in crude supply.
Senate Democrats introduced a broad energy bill this week that seeks, in part, to boost vehicle fuel efficiency but said that any change could not take effect until the 2004 model year is introduced.
The legislation does not set specific fuel mileage requirements for vehicles. That language will be added to the bill after the Senate Commerce Committee approves a new standard, they said.
Is this any different than rubber rationing and victory gardens during WWII?
by: Reuters Environmental News Service
Doesn't Reuters have primarily a UK roots?
BTW, the fuel efficiency of these vehicles is the HIGHEST they have ever been owing to a wide range of technological advencements including PORT fuel injection, Electronic fuel and ignition control systems and MORE light-weight composites being used ...
-Dakota PU V-8!
How about YOU don't buy an SUV and keep your nose out of my business?
Now this IS interesting. Gas prices are down 30 or so percent yet consumption is only up 3 percent! It almost seems like we are not getting sucked into comsuming more.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.