Gasoline prices have risen to more than $4 per gallon in many parts of the U.S., and many drivers worry they will continue to rise as the summer driving season gets going after Memorial Day.
Some auto industry watchers consider the $4 level a threshold beyond which consumers begin to significantly change their behavior by driving less or trading in gas-guzzling vehicles. That proved to be true in the summer of 2008 — the last time gas surged this high. Sales of small economy cars and hybrids took off while the market for large SUVs practically halted.
An auto analyst suggested people who cared most about fuel economy already had fuel-efficient cars or bought them during the 2008 price spike, so it may take even higher fuel prices to get consumers’ attention this time around.
That could be true, but I think we are close to a point where people will more drastically change their driving habits. After all, at $4 a gallon, filling larger fuel tanks like the 26-gallon tank in a Ford F-150 pickup truck, can cost $100.