Yesterday the Los Angeles Times ran an article about the fact that, in response to soaring gas prices, smaller cars are outselling light trucks (which include SUVs, pickups, and minivans) in the US for the first time since 1996. Last night I was going through old magazines that we’d just tossed in a bag before moving. I found the September 2006 issue of Westways (the California Auto Club’s magazine), with a cover story about the new breed of small cars, wondering when the market would shift in response to the high prices. Now there’s timing.
On a related note, 9 months of driving a Prius has given me a somewhat different perspective on “good” and “bad” mileage. When I see averages of 38–48 MPG over the course of a tank of gas, and can get up to 60 MPG on straight, flat stretches of freeway, advertisements touting 25–30 MPG just don’t sound that enticing.
I’m really wishing I’d bought, well, not a Prius, because I have problems with seeing out the back window, but a hybrid Camry when I bought my Camry a few months back…. While it gets decent mileage on the highway (30 mpg), the price of gasoline is just insane. Yesterday the price of regular at the station where I usually buy gas was $4.41/gal. Today, when I filled my tank, it was $4.51. A ten-cent rise in one day? There is no way that is justified, even given that the price of oil took a big jump yesterday. Enjoy that Prius!