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Won’t Return to Gas-Guzzling Habits

September 19, 2006 · · Filed Under Diesel, Eco-Driving, Gasoline, Related News 

A recent article from America’s cheese-capitol indicates that the sustained high gas prices of this spring and summer have changed the gas-guzzling habits of survey respondents, and that the recent drop in gasoline prices will not change them back. Let’s hope there are similar mid-west sensibilities from the right coast to the left coast.

From Wisconsin State Journal
Survey: Driving won’t climb as gas prices fall

MARV BALOUSEK

…After more than a year of high prices driven by a range of factors – increased demand, last year’s hurricanes and global instability – gasoline has plunged in recent weeks, selling for $2.51 a gallon at some Madison-area stations. And analysts say prices could drop further, thanks to the end of the summer driving season and stable supply. Natural gas prices also have declined, setting the stage for decreased energy spending for consumers in the coming months.

But area drivers say they haven’t forgotten the summer’s high prices, which saw gasoline approach $3.20 a gallon in Madison, and they say aren’t returning to their old gas-guzzling ways. That’s because many are aware prices could easily go back up…

…Some analysts are forecasting that gas prices will continue to decline, said Pam Moen of AAA Wisconsin. But she said consumers are smart to be wary.”People are relieved and we should be thankful these prices have finally come down,” she said. “But it’s important to understand that nothing really has changed. Until we address issues with our national energy infrastructure, we are going to be vulnerable to the kind of volatility and extreme pricing we’ve seen in the past year.”

Gas prices accelerated the boom in hybrid cars and now play a bigger role in consumer choices, said Neeraj Arora, a UW-Madison professor of marketing research.

“People are going to reflect back on the prices that have changed over the last month or two more than they did three or four years ago,” he said. “My guess is it’s going to become a bigger factor than it has in the past in making a consumer decision on which (vehicle) brand they should buy.”

Jeff Beddow of the National Automobile Dealers Association said it took a long stretch of higher gas prices before sales of less fuel efficient vehicles dropped, and he doesn’t see buyers quickly coming back to gas-guzzlers.

“Typically, changes in consumer buying habits related to gas prices come after a sustained period of time at either a high or low price level,” he said…

Read the original article…

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