Oct 30, 2008

Will Dropping Gas Prices Bring Back the SUV Craze?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: the SUV craze of the late 90's and early 21st century came into play from the perspective that they were safer and more practical. Even though they presented other challenges that made them more likely to get into an accident, they are considered "more metal" to have around you and are therefore seen as safer by many drivers.

The convenience factor is obvious. Families are able to fit more easily in them. Transporting 5 or more people is much more comfortable than in a car, truck, and sometimes even a minivan.

All of that makes it sound like the dropping gas prices will rejuvinate the failing market. There are two factors that will prevent it from happening.

  1. Those who traded in their SUVs for fuel-efficient vehicles can't trust the drop in gas prices. They are low now, but how long will it last?
  2. Manufacturers learned their lesson and have cut production across the board of these vehicles. Lower production means higher demand, which means higher prices, which means more people will lean towards more affordable vehicles, especially with the state of the economy.

Those who have kept their SUVs will continue to keep their SUVs.

Gas prices may have been the catalyst that started the reduction of SUVs on the road, but lowering prices will not change it back. With the environment becoming more of a mainstream issue that touches us all, people started feeling good about their decisions. Even if it was the prices of gas that pulled them our of their SUVs, they still felt like they were making the right decision for the environment as well.

Regardless of what gets people thinking about the environment, it's always difficult to stop thinking about it. Once it's embedded in a person's thoughts, their actions and decisions are normally effected forever.

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