Fuel Efficient Car Sales Up With Gas Prices On The Rise

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Gas prices continue to climb on this Presidents Day. The average price for a gallon of unleaded regular is now $3.14, or more than 50 cents higher than it was one year ago.

Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve says today is one of the busiest for car dealers and gas prices are changing the cars we buy.

At a Shell station on Route One in Norwood, the price for a gallon of gas is $3.29.

This motorist told me “I think it is too expensive!”

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports.

Another said “they stink. It is hard!”

As they shot past the three dollar a gallon mark gas prices have gotten people’s attention. And that has many re-thinking the car the drive.

As this motorist put it: “will influence the next car I buy.”

At the KIA dealership on Route One in Norwood, they can watch the prices at the station next door climb every day.

The general sales manager says on this Presidents Day their fleet of smaller fuel efficient cars are appealing to buyers.

Carmen Coviello says buyers “are looking at the window sticker to see the miles per gallon. They are going there first. They are seeing what the miles per gallon are.”

Eddie and Maria Imbrogna of Boston are buying a new KIA vehicle and the rising price of gas is now driving the decision making process.

Eddie says “a couple of years ago we would have said this is way too small but we are now looking at this category of vehicles. It is smaller. It is a four cylinder.”

A recent survey by Kelley Blue Book suggests a strong correlation between gas prices and the cars we buy. At $3.50 a gallon half of us will choose the fuel efficient model. At $5 a gallon, practically all of us are choosing the fuel efficient model.

While 2010 saw a rebound in SUV sales for the first time in years, some are wondering how long that will last. Riccardo Castillo is the sales manager at CLAY Hyundai on Route one.

“I am starting to see more of the sedan buyer, a lot more for the four cylinder more so than the SUVs.”

While fuel efficient hybrid cars are popular they are also expensive.

As one sales person put it smaller engines are the craze….adding four cylinders is the new six cylinders.

Hybrid car sales were actually down in 2010 compared to 2009 but sales of four cylinder cars jumped. And those smaller engines are now far more popular than six or eight cylinder engines.

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    […] Restaurants like The Wardhurt Grille in Salem are already feeling the trickle down effect. Donna Dzielnik says, “We’ve noticed lunch crowd decreasing rapidly. Everyone is keeping an eye on their pocket. You have to spend money on gas, where as you don’t have to spend money on clothing or going out to restaurants.” Read: Fuel-efficient car sales on the way up […]

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