Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Well, DUH.

Welcome back to 1973, folks... do you think it'll sink in this time?

Sales of sport-utility vehicles took a dive in September, dragging down U.S. automakers who were already expecting a consumer payback after a summer of employee-pricing discounts. Gas prices that topped $3 nationwide after Hurricane Katrina didn’t help.

A September survey by AARP found 47% of the members it surveyed cutting back on travel and 39 percent visiting family and friends less often. Thirteen percent of the respondents even said they were offsetting high gasoline prices by eating less, and a like number were cutting back on medical care and prescriptions.

"These are lifestyle-changing prices," said James Toedtman, editor of the AARP Bulletin, in a statement."

Many of the superlatives that were used to talk about sales this past summer turned to expletives in September," George Pipas, the top sales analyst for Ford, said during a conference call with journalists.

5 comments:

Jim Royal said...

Will it sink in this time? Nope. It won't last long enogh to sink in.

For there to be a major change in people's energy-consumption habits, the cost of energy has to be sky-high for years -- long enough to interruopt the car-buying cycle, long enough for attractive alternative vehicles to be designed an manufactured. Say, five or six years.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I don't think it'll sink in either. Even if it goes on for a few years and fuel efficiency once again becomes the priority of the day, once the crises is over we'll fall back to our old habits.

Lone Primate said...

I wish I could bring forward evidence to the contrary, but I can't. I saw all the same things I remember reading about from 1973. Long line-ups to save a nickel. Skyrocketing prices. But now, people seem to have adjusted to the 97¢-$1.10/L range, and nothing stampedes them to or away from the pumps.

I think the only real difference between now and then is we really are approaching peak oil, and things are going to get a lot tougher. I don't think there's going to be an oil renaissance this time like we saw after the OPEC crisis. This one will be real, and permanent. I don't know if we've hit the turning point yet, but we might have... it might be no better than this ever again.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I think the only real difference between now and then is we really are approaching peak oil, and things are going to get a lot tougher

Are we? I really think we need to get off oil use, but as for when we run out I'm not sure what to believe. They've been crying wolf for so long that I don't pay attention anymore. Then again, there's not much I can do anyway except hold on for the ride.

Lone Primate said...

Then again, there's not much I can do anyway except hold on for the ride.

True enough. Nobody has much say in this, and even the governments steadfastly refuse to step in and mandate sanity or control.