Fuel Sales Disappoint Despite Booming Truck Demand

Americans have been purchasing a lot more pickups, SUVs, and crossovers than small cars, hybrids, and electric vehicles – and this doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

The traditional market dynamic for gasoline consumption and pump prices had for decades been based on the “cars vs. trucks” sales pattern in the U.S. and around the world. Lately, that’s gone askew with other market forces playing into the equation when looking at consumption trends from a broader perspective.

For the first half of this year, cars made for a little over 3.2 million in U.S. light-duty vehicle sales, while light trucks (pickups, SUVs, vans, and crossovers) made for more than 5.2 million new vehicles sold during that time period. Not that long ago, cars and trucks were at a 50/50 split in new vehicle sales.

Compared to the first half of 2016, cars are down more than 11 percent and light trucks are up 4.6 percent in new vehicle sales. Crossovers and large SUVs performed even better than pickups during that time.

That sales trend leaning toward light-duty truck segments started with the oil price plunge in July 2014. It continues to be supported by gasoline and diesel prices staying level in the market.

Gasoline and diesel prices fluctuate slightly with seasonal patterns playing their part, but oil analysts to stay around this level for the near future.

Federal fuel economy rules installed during the Obama administration played their part in the types of fuel efficient vehicles coming to market. But in recent years, the window sticker fuel economy rating has stayed flat at 25.1 mpg, according to Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan. Related: Electric Vehicles No Threat To Oil Prices Anytime Soon

According to economist Jill Mislinski, fuel consumption has increased recently by fuel prices staying even and light trucks being more popular than cars. However, when looking at the data on a per capita basis, fuel consumption is much lower than…

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