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The Prophetic Turnaround of Gas-Guzzling

May 31, 2008

Never have car dealers seen a class of vehicles depreciate in value faster than diesel-powered vehicles and SUVs. These vehicles are netting 50% less at auction than a mere six months ago. For those that don’t care or can’t afford a higher-priced vehicle, SUVs may be the ticket to driving independence. In that sense, one man’s trash is another man’s gold. People in general are trading out of SUVs at a record-breaking pace. The glut on the market makes the value of these vehicles continue to drop and more affordable for those that are not as financially well-endowed.

G.M. has sold about 1,100 of its Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon hybrids since their introduction in January, according to company sales briefings. That pace is well behind its goal of 12,000 sales this year, and a fraction of the more than 100,000 hybrids sold so far in the United States this year. Most consumers are not enamored with 20 mpg hybrids.

Someone that filled up household SUV or farm-based diesel truck in 1998 would pay about $30 compared to $122 today. Naturally, economics is more than simply filling a gas tank. For those that are willing to actually crunch numbers, drivers can find that driving habits can play a heavy factor in the cost of driving a vehicle.

Those that need or have diesel vehicles get a 10% higher bang for the buck because diesel holds 10% more energy than unleaded gasoline. Many diesel vehicles are more efficient than their gasoline counterparts depending on the make and model. Gas prices have increased an average of 24% in the last year with diesel fuel being higher in cost than gasoline.

Since a diesel engine is more efficient and durable than a gasoline engine, overall expenses including energy are lower for the life of the vehicle. If you need a durable diesel engine for your life or business, keeping the vehicle you have is probably more efficient unless you can afford the expense of downgrading the size of what you drive.

Unfortunately, Detroit has not set a reasonable pace at building fuel-efficient travel. Manufacturers blame government regulation and safety protocol, which makes all vehicles heavier.

Drivers in the market for a new car should do a careful car-by-car comparison while taking into consideration personal driving habits. For example, a hybrid is great in the city, but yields less savings on the highway.

Fortunately, some manufacturers are now offering cars that can garner 40 to 50 miles per gallon for fuel. With additional consumer pressure and gas price increases, the nation stands to gain when car and truck purchases are made wisely. If you are in the market, your wallet sets the trend.

For some of us, keeping the old trusty vehicle that we have is the better option. Not everyone can downgrade and expect to meet their real needs. Others cannot afford to buy the latest model that is needed because of the dubious national economy and unemployment. For some, a dependable used SUV is a far better option than driving a heap or taking the bus.

Breaking even with the expense of a new car is a real problem to consider. Consumers must weigh the current value of their drive. Figuring out how many miles you have to put on a new vehicle before you break even is a wise move in a dicey economy.

In the meantime, car buyers are snatching up reasonably inexpensive gas savers like the Ford Focus. Cheaper purchasing costs and better economy does not mean better value. Four-cylinder gasoline engines are not known universally for dependability. Upkeep is ever more important to keep small engines running.

People are often fickle. If gas prices were to decline again or money became less of a worry, many Americans would quickly gravitate toward gas-guzzlers. Americans need to demand fuel-efficient transportation, regardless of the fuel. Money talks to be certain. The United States is a big place. Efficiency is no longer an option, but a mandate.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Phantasm permalink
    May 31, 2008 4:37 pm

    TNTalk is right. Buying a new car is not a choice for everyone and is not necessarily a reasonable choice. What is worse buying a mediocre Ford Focus or less that doesn’t really address the true problem of efficiency vs. value is only a solution for a poor working class man that has a decent credit line to help with a fuel problem for a few years.

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