Gas prices going up: Will truck, SUV sales go down?

Feb 2, 2011

Gas prices going up: Will truck and SUV sales go down?

Gas prices across America have been hitting $3/gallon for regular, as a barrel of oil is pricing at more than $90. Diesel prices are higher. OPEC may bring that back down to around $85, but it doesn’t plan now to increase production. And with the turmoil in Egypt, that country’s Mideast OPEC neighbors themselves may worry whether any of them could see popular unrest boil to a head in their countries. That could raise prices higher and more quickly.

Here, some analysts think gas prices will reach $4/gal. this summer. And a former president of Shell Oil Co. said we could be paying $5/gal. by 2012. Other oil pundits think the $5 mark won’t come for a few more years, though.

But with growing economies like China and India —  as well as the U.S. —  once again using more oil, supply and demand mean higher prices.

And as spring isn’t all that far away, and with it more people out driving, gas prices will rise  — as they often do that time of year.

Remember the summer of 2008 when the average price of regular topped $4/gal?  It wasn’t long after that that pickup sales dropped, followed by deep, deep slashes in the prices of new trucks. And big SUVs started to decline in popularity.

Being that spring also heralds the new-car and truck buying season and month-over-month new-vehicle sales have been rising steadily, will consumers — who still seem ready to buy new vehicles — back away from trucks and SUVs and go more for smaller, high-miles-per-gallon cars? One can only guess, because that’s what the pundits are doing. We’ll all soon see.