18 Percent of New Vehicles Now Cost over $100 to Fill at Pump According to Edmunds.com

18 Percent of New Vehicles Now Cost over $100 to Fill at Pump According to Edmunds.com


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18 Percent of New Vehicles Now Cost over $100 to Fill at Pump According to Edmunds.com

Portion of Household Income Spent on Gasoline Doubles in Last Five Years

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — August 4, 2008 — Less than one year ago the national average price for regular gasoline was $2.96 per gallon, and many consumers simply wrote off monthly fuels costs as a mere annoyance. Those days are over, according to a study released today by Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information.

Edmunds.com data shows that with gas prices at $4.06 per gallon (the average national price for regular fuel on July 21), there are 60 vehicles in the new-vehicle market that cost consumers more than $100 to fill.

In a separate analysis, Edmunds.com has also calculated that the median household is spending 11.5 percent of its income on gasoline expenses, up from 4.6 percent five years ago.

"Gas prices are rising much faster than household incomes," said Jesse Toprak, Executive Director of Industry Analysis, Edmunds.com. "The result is a difficult situation in which consumers must alter their driving habits or make other sacrifices in their lives."

A look at historical household incomes and fuel prices reveals the degree to which fuel prices are affecting consumers" budgets:

Date
Price of Gas Per Gallon1
Median Yearly Household Income2
Percent of Income Spent on Fuel3
Jul-91 $1.09 $30,126 4.9%
Jul-95 $1.14 $34,076 4.6%
Jul-99 $1.19 $40,696 4.0%
Jul-03 $1.51 $43,318 4.8%
Jul-07 $2.96 $48,201 8.4%
Jul-08 $4.06 $48,201 11.5%
1Energy Information Administration data.
2US Census Bureau data. Last reported year is 2006; 2007 and 2008 income figures are assumed the same as 2006.
3Assumes 30,000 miles driven per household per year and 22 miles-per-gallon average fuel economy.

A specific example is as follows: A family owns a fuel-thirsty 2008 Nissan Titan XE 4dr Crew Cab 4WD LB (14.3 miles-per-gallon) and a relatively efficient 2005 Chevrolet Impala Base (22 miles-per-gallon). If each vehicle is driven 15,000 miles per year, a household with the median income for 2008 will spend $587 per month on gasoline, or 14.6 percent of its income. Of course, most consumers react to individual gas receipts. And in the case of the Titan, consumers are reminded of this major expense every time they go to the pump as the truck's 37 gallon fuel tank costs $150 to fill.

"The $100 gas tank is a daunting psychological barrier for many consumers," said Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor for Edmunds.com. "Even drivers who need their big trucks and SUVs may start to reconsider their purchase decision once the gas pump reaches that horrifying $100 number." And, as shown by Edmunds.com data below, the number of models on the market that cost over $100 to fill is on the rise.

Price of Gas Per Gallon
Number of Models Costing Over $100 to Fill1
Percent of Models Costing Over $100 to Fill
$3.00 20 6.0%
$4.06 60 18.0%
$5.00 149 44.6%
$6.00 243 72.8%
1Assumes models are purchased with largest tank available

About Edmunds Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/about/)
Edmunds Inc. publishes four Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its most popular feature, the Edmunds.com True Market Value®, is relied upon by millions of people seeking current transaction prices for new and used vehicles. Edmunds.com was named "Best Car Research Site" by Forbes ASAP, has been selected by consumers as the "Most Useful Web Site" according to every J.D. Power and Associates New Autoshopper.com Study(SM), was ranked first in the Survey of Car-Shopping Web Sites by The Wall Street Journal and was rated "#1" in Keynote's study of third-party automotive Web sites. Inside Line launched in 2005 and is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. CarSpace launched in 2006 and is an automotive social networking Web site. AutoObserver.com launched in 2007 and provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit.

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