Escalating gas prices are not having as much of an impact on consumer behavior as Detroit expected, reports Joseph White in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Apparently, we’re turning our nose up at GM’s gas-sipper Aveo (37 miles per gallon).
The Journal reports:
"People say that $3 a gallon gas makes them think twice about their energy consumption, and what kind of vehicles they drive. People say that global warming worries them, and that they want to do something about the tons of CO2 that burning fossil fuels pumps into the atmosphere.
So far, however, these concerns haven’t translated into a sustained, meaningful decrease in Americans’ gasoline consumption, or significantly fewer miles traveled. Nor has there been a dramatic shift in the kinds of vehicles Americans want to buy. Small cars, small crossover wagons and compact trucks make up only about 25% of total retail sales in the U.S., says GM’s Mr. Ballew, compared to 40% for small vehicles in Europe, where gas prices are about double U.S. levels.
"Small cars have underperformed out of the gate this year, as gas prices moderated during the winter months," Mr. Ballew says.
Sure, Prius sales continue to soar (manufacturer Toyota was the only car maker to enjoy a sales increase in March while the Big 3 reported worsening sales).
But the Journal’s point is a good one. Consumers often say one thing: and then do quite the opposite.
And who said our job was easy?