With the rise in gas prices being accelerated by events in the Middle East, the people at LeaseTrader.com, a firm that helps match car shoppers with people looking to get out of their leases, have gone back to the un-halcyon days of the summer of 2008, when gas prices hit a national average of >$4.00 gallon.
What, they wondered, happened back then?
Not surprisingly, many drivers who were rolling in not-particularly-fuel-efficient vehicles transferred out of their leases and opted for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Those who actually need the larger vehicles—be it businesses or families—are the ones who opt for the SUVs.
According to Sergio Stiberman, CEO and founder of LeaseTrader.com, “The average driver goes through a series of psychological stages when gas prices rise. During the uptick, concerns and complaints heat up when we pass certain price benchmarks, but widespread behavior doesn’t actually change until we hit $4.00 per gallon.”
While HUMMER is behind us, “LeaseTrader.com again anticipates an influx of vehicle models for transfer, including the Chevy Silverado and Avalanche, Cadillac Escalade, GMC Sierra, Ford Expedition, Mercedes GL, and BMW X5.”
According to GasBuddy, the average price in the U.S. for a gallon of regular gas today is $3.448, so there is some way to go to get to $4.00. But realize that one year ago, you could get a gallon for $2.714.
While all of the domestic OEMs are putting a greater ostensible focus on smaller cars—the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Fiat 500 (from Chrysler)—there are those aforementioned products listed by LeaseTrader that are still inextricably linked to their profit plans, possibly at too great a level due to their fundamental ability to carry more margins.