Car shoppers flip sentiment toward gas prices, survey finds

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June 7, 2011 — In a complete reversal of opinion from just a couple months ago, more than half of car shoppers now say they think gas prices will stay the same or drop during the next 30 days, according to a recent Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) survey.

The survey, taken in May, found that 52 percent of car shoppers share the new outlook. In addition, the number of respondents who said gas prices have changed their mind about what vehicle to purchase has decreased five percentage points. The survey also found that consumers are feeling better about the economic climate.

“Prices at the pump have halted their steep rise and now gas prices are slowly going down in many parts of the country, and the latest kbb.com survey results show that car shoppers are taking note,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. “If consumers feel more optimistic about the near-future state of gas prices and more confident in their personal economic situations, this will bode well for the automotive industry, though declining home values present a continuing concern.”

Nerad said vehicle availability issues from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami could also reduce gains expected from the increase in consumer confidence.

Kelley Blue Book used the Van Westendorp pricing model to better understand consumers’ prices sensitivity. The organization found that despite the recent declines in gas prices, costs are still higher than what most consumers find acceptable.

The optimal price point, however, has risen from $3 a gallon at the start of the year to $3.27 per gallon. Most consumers said gas prices of $4 and above would affect their vehicle consideration.

For more information, go to kbb.com.
 

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