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High Gas Prices Spark Need for Fuel Efficiency

Fifty-nine percent of U.S. in-market vehicle shoppers say that gas prices have either changed their minds or strongly influenced purchase decisions, according to the August 2005 AutoVIBES, a monthly automotive study from Harris Interactive and Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research tracking consumer automotive buying intentions. This is an increase of 13 percentage points since last month and an all-time high since AutoVIBES began tracking the effect of gas prices on vehicle choice in April 2004.

In addition, 42 percent of vehicle shoppers indicate that they would seriously consider a more fuel-efficient vehicle if gas prices were to increase an additional $0.25 above the current national average (which was $2.61 per gallon on August 26, 2005). This is an increase of 12 percentage points since last month and an all-time high since tracking began in April 2004.

"With prices for gas now skyrocketing above the psychological threshold of $3 per gallon in many areas, consumers are more interested in fuel-efficient cars than at any time in the last two decades," said Jack R. Nerad, editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "Pump prices are not only pinching the pockets of today's SUV owners, but future owners as well, as we are seeing three and five year residual values on new SUVs begin to fall."

AutoVIBES is a monthly omnibus survey of approximately 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and over who plan to purchase or lease a new vehicle within the next 12 months. This survey was conducted August 26 - 29 on Kelley Blue Book's Web site (, the most visited Web site among in-market vehicle buyers. The study was designed and analyzed jointly by Harris Interactive and Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research.

The data was weighted by demographics and propensity to reflect the general adult population of the United States in in-market vehicle buyers. Though this online sample is not a probability sample, in theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population who plan to purchase or lease a new vehicle within the next 12 months had been polled with complete accuracy.

For more information, visit Kelley Blue Book.


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