I guess I’m not all that surprised by a surge in SUV sales now that gas prices have dropped. Supply and demand, that’s how it works—or how it’s supposed to work—right? Still, I didn’t think we’d put a hand back on the stove so soon after getting burned.
Trucks and sport utility vehicles will outsell cars for the first time since February, according to a December report by Edmunds.com, which tracks industry statistics.
“Despite all the public discussion of fuel efficiency, SUVs and trucks are the industry’s biggest sellers right now as a remarkable number of buyers seem to be compelled by three factors: great deals, low gas prices and winter weather,” said Michelle Krebs of AutoObserver.com, a division of Edmunds.com, in a prepared statement.
Yes, collective amnesia is partly to blame—gas mileage “hasn’t been a topic of conversation lately,” one dealer says—but the big draw for SUVs has been discounts from dealers looking to move large vehicles off their lots. Perhaps this is just a temporary bounce back before the market stabilizes in favor of more fuel efficient vehicles. Still, do the people buying gas guzzlers now really think prices won’t go back up? Are we destined to repeat this cycle forever?
Andrew Sullivan says it’s time for a gas tax. I’m not looking forward to paying more at the pump, but if this trend in vehicle sales continues, that will probably happen anyway as the economy starts to recover. Why not increase taxes on gasoline and lower them somewhere else or invest the revenue in alternative energy research?