Are the Most Popular Fuel Economy Cars in the United States Outselling Its Truck Rivals in 2008?

Although the price for gasoline has come down over the past months, the one question that keeps protracted in car buyers mind is the direction of gasoline prices for the coming months and years ahead. Although no one can predict the future prices at the pump, but with the current recession in the works, many doubts that it will be anywhere but up.

Running a check at U.S. Retail Gasoline Prices indicated that from July 2008 until November 2008 the country is currently enjoying the lowest average gasoline prices of $1.93/gallon (regular grade) in November 2008. The second lowest gas price was back in January 2007 at $2.15/gallon. It then rose to $3.22/gallon in May 2007, down to $2.75/gallon in September 2007, up again in March 2008 at $3.30/gallon before reaching its peak of $4.12/gallon in July 2008.

However can we assume that sale of fuel efficient new and used cars are tied to the price of gasoline. You will be surprised by the findings below!

Let’s take a look at the most popular cars and trucks sold in January to April 2008:

TOP 10 MOST POPULAR CARS AND TRUCKS FROM JANUARY 2008 TO APRIL 2008

  1. Ford F-Series
  2. Chevrolet Silverado
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Honda Accord
  5. Honda Civic
  6. Toyota Corolla/Matrix
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Chevrolet Impala
  9. Dodge Ram
  10. Ford Focus

From January to April 2008 above, the list contain all the familiar faces but if you look at the list of Top 10 Most Popular Cars and Trucks in May 2008 below, you’ll find a wind of change was forthcoming.

While the prices of gas fluctuate during a period of uncertainty, American drivers are not only using less gas but they are not taking any chances by also changing their vehicle as well. Just take a look at America’s favorite Ford F-Series trucks that have been the top selling brand for the past 2 decades. By May 2008, it has dropped by 5 ranking while the fuel efficient Honda Civic took over the top spot. More importantly you will notice that cars are overtaking trucks as the best selling vehicles during the period in comparison. There is no surprise here as car buyers reacts according to the cost of gas.

TOP 10 MOST POPULAR CARS AND TRUCKS IN MAY 2008

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Toyota Corolla/Matrix
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Honda Accord
  5. Ford F-Series
  6. Chevrolet Silverado
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Ford Focus
  9. Chevrolet Cobalt
  10. Chevrolet Impala

Now, let’s tracks the most popular cars and trucks sold in July 2008 when gasoline prices were at its peak during the period in our review.

TOP 10 MOST POPULAR CARS AND TRUCKS IN JULY 2008

  1. Ford F-Series
  2. Toyota Camry
  3. Honda Accord
  4. Toyota Corolla/Matrix
  5. Chevrolet Silverado
  6. Honda Civic
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Dodge Ram
  9. Honda CR-V
  10. Chevrolet Malibu

Surprisingly, Ford F-Series reclaimed the Top position again! During this period, Ford was facing high F-Series inventory resulting from unexpected drop in their sales from previous months, have geared up additional discount and promotion to ramp up sales. The result for July 2008 clearly showed that Ford has achieved its target amid lower sales. It also indicate that Americans are unfazed by the high gas prices and are not averse to high gas consumption when it comes to choosing their preferred vehicle especially when offered deals that are too good to pass up. The U.S. consumer love affairs with the popular trucks remain strong despite what the statistics says. On top of that, the car segment that have been anticipating higher demand due to high gas price but did not offer much incentive are not seeing any significant changes to their ranking. The result may have dampens demand for such cars instead. As gasoline prices continue to decline from July 2008’s peak, it was not surprising to see that demand for Trucks, continue to rise in tandem albeit lower sales due to the current ongoing credit crunch.

In my own thoughts, the discounts and promotions offered by car dealers for trucks could be large enough an incentive for buyers to offset against the imminent rise of gas. However, with gas prices continuing heading south, and buyers getting the best deals at the dealer, it seems truck buyers have won the bet this time round.