The New York International Auto Show opens to media tomorrow…
It seems that every year, just as the weather becomes warmer and “road trip season” nears, the news media begin predicting how much consumers can expect to pay for a gallon of gas come Memorial Day weekend. This year is no different; however, the problem is exacerbated by the Japan earthquake and tsunami devastation, the situation in the Middle East, and the rate at which our government is printing the dollar.
The fact is, the steady rise of gasoline prices combined with the anticipated parts and inventory shortages from Japan could make for a very uncomfortable scenario for consumers this summer. Analysts (and the media) are expecting gas prices to rise to $6 in the coming weeks.
As someone who has experienced the automotive industry from the consumer, dealership, and policy sides; I can’t help but contemplate whether the Administration believes that consumers will just sit back and accept rising fuel costs. Perhaps the White House hopes that sky-rocketing gas prices will actually encourage consumers to head to their local car lots to buy highly fuel efficient vehicles like the government-backed Chevy Volt. There’s no denying it would help President Obama meet his goal of one million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Normally, sending a slew of consumers to the dealerships would be a welcomed response from dealers who sell the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf among others, but the lack of parts coming from Japan has pinched dealers’ inventories.
I’m a strong believer in the marketplace driving what automakers produce, but it feels as though the government is (almost unabashedly) placing consumers between a gas pump and a hard place. How can consumers take control of the situation without being forced to purchase fuel sippers at the flip of a switch? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
- How Gas Prices Bite (abcnews.go.com)
- Gas prices rise in America (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Gas drives up price of smaller used cars (msnbc.msn.com)
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