Ah, how soon we forget. It appears that truck and SUV sales are back on the rise again in the USA thanks to cheap gas and generous factory/dealer bonuses. According to this article on CNN, trucks and SUVs made up 51% of all vehicles sold in the U.S.in December.
We’re not talking crossover suburban-type SUVs here, but the big thumpers.
Sadly, hybrid vehicle sales plumetted during the same period.
While I hated paying high prices for gas, in a way it was a great thing as suddenly people started becoming a little more conscious of their vehicle choices and how they drive them. My article on gas saving tips certainly saw a spike in views when gas prices went through the roof. High prices were one of the reasons we converted our main vehicle to LPG Autogas and through doing so, there was the added bonus of less emissions.
The gas situation may have also set a few folks to start looking beyond cars, thinking big picture and delving further into greening other areas of their lives.
The high prices simply didn’t go on for long enough to create any lasting effect unfortunately. However, regardless of the current economy and its downwards pressure on oil prices; it’s not going to put off Peak Oil for too long and I suspect we’ll be seeing high prices again by the end of the year.
I’ve been tempted to buy a 4wd a number on occasions as I spend a lot of time in the bush (currently driving a minivan); but over the past year or so, there’s only been a couple of days where the extra traction and clearance would have been a big help. Added to the cost of buying, fueling and maintaining these vehicles, I’ve found it far easier just to work around those bad days or to just take it easy rather than plough through sodden tracks; with the added benefit of not ripping up the track so much. Of course, these could be famous last words :).
While I certainly accept that for some folks an SUV/truck is an absolute must, I often wonder what the show-pony percentage is. I’d say there’s quite a few getting around Adelaide that have never seen a dirt road or work site, let alone any real off-road action.
Still, to each his own ; the sooner we run out of easily obtainable crude oil the better I guess as we can then move onto greener ways to get around – that’s if we haven’t choked the planet to death by then.