Gas prices soar, SUV sales fall - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gas prices soar, SUV sales fall

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April 30, 2008

Albany--  Gas prices hit new state and national record highs again Wednesday.  That's happened every day for the last two weeks. Rising prices are driving down sales of gas guzzling Sport Utility Vehicles and that's hurting car dealers.

The national numbers don't look good. SUV sales went down nearly 30 percent in the first quarter this year. At the same time, subcompact sales increased 32 percent.  That's according to Autodata Corp. Sitting up high in an SUV is no longer as attractive for some with these high gas prices.

As drivers come and go, it's become a common feeling. "They're ridiculous," said driver Faye Favors.

They're dealing with what they call ridiculous gas prices almost at $3.60 a gallon in Albany. "Rough on the pocket," said Favors. It's especially rough for Favors. She drives a Ford Expedition and it's expensive to fill it up.

"Sometimes I don't," said Favors.

Lately it's gotten to be too much for some SUV drivers. They've paid a visit to Tommy Pantone at Action Motors in Albany. "Because the gas prices are so high, they can't afford to drive these big vehicles," said Pantone.

Many of those big vehicles now fill a single parking lot at the dealership. "Yeah, trade-ins. We see people coming in here trying to take the big cars and trade them for smaller cars or smaller trucks," said Pantone.

Sales have been good for smaller cars but SUV's? Not so much. They continue to sit. "The gas prices have everything all messed up. It's kind of hurting sales," said Pantone.

Any salesman will tell you they'd like to also sell the big-ticket items, not just the small, so they're watching gas prices also.  

"I hope the gas prices go down so the business will pick back up and people will start buying the big SUV's," said Pantone.

Faye Favors wants a favor from these gas prices--for them to go down. "Most definitely. Quick, fast and in a hurry," said Favors.

If not, she's seriously thinking of making a tough decision to trade in her SUV to save a little dough. "Probably in the next few months if the gas prices don't drop," said Favors.  

Here's just a little gas price comparison for you. We randomly chose two vehicles from Chevrolet, the Chevy Tahoe and the Chevy Malibu.

The Tahoe has a 26 gallon capacity. At $3.57 a gallon here in Albany, it would cost nearly $93 to fill up. The Malibu at 15 gallons would cost about $54. So it costs 73-percent more to fill up the SUV which is enough for some to give up that high ride.    

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