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Fuel Price Impact Study Results – November 2005

Consumer Reactions More Moderate as Fuel Prices Decline Towards $2 per Gallon
As the price of gasoline in the United States continued to decline from September and October peaks, the November 2005 VehicleVoice Fuel Price Impact Survey conducted by AutoPacific confirms that many consumers would consider switching the type of vehicle they drive, though not quite to the extent they indicated two or even one month ago. The Fuel Price Impact Survey is based on the results of a VehicleVoice ( Internet survey with 1,153 respondents who completed the survey between November 15 and November 21, 2005.
Actual fuel price down; future price expected to pay for fuel about $2.50!
In the last month the median price respondents say they paid for fuel has declined by an impressive fifty cents per gallon, and the median price they expect to pay one year from now has decreased by forty cents per gallon to $2.53
Reduced shift away from SUVs… Small Cars still Benefit
What a difference a few months make. In a clear example that buyers react to immediate pressures, the headlines that drivers will abandon their SUVs is premature. In September 27% of the respondents who were SUV owners said they would consider switching to another type of vehicle next time they buy, this declined to 22% in October and further to 15% in November. The vehicle segment most likely to benefit from this migration is Small Cars (up 28% in November, compared with a 33% increase in October and 41% in September). While the data do not show a direct relationship of drivers moving from SUVs to Small Cars, there is a clear tendency to move from less fuel-efficient segments to vehicle types that get better gas mileage.

Hybrid preference still huge; seen as Silver Bullet!
With lower fuel prices, consideration for more fuel efficient engines has moderated. About 19% of drivers who have vehicles powered by V8 engines say they will shift to more fuel-efficient engines, down from 25% in October. Vehicles with hybrid powerplants will be considered by 11% of the respondents, down slightly from 14% in the October survey. This is a reaction to the continuing positive media attention surrounding hybrid-powered vehicles and the public’s perception that hybrids are the answer to the higher price of fuel. There is also somewhat more interest in diesel engines, though significantly less than the level of interest in a gas-electric hybrid.
High fuel price still seen as BAD for America!
The culprits identified by the respondents as contributing to high fuel prices remain Big Oil Companies, OPEC, Natural Disasters and Limited Refining Capacity. When asked whether high fuel prices are good or bad for America, 74% say that high fuel prices are “bad for America”, down from 80% in the September survey. In the land where roads have been paved by unlimited cheap gas, attitudes are that conservation stimulated by higher gasoline prices is not the popular way to go. Higher fuel prices might actually encourage conservation, reduce pollution and provide the Middle East with less money to use against American interests, but respondents don’t see it that way, and vote their pocketbook.

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