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Study: Gas Price Fluctuations Impact Vehicle Sales

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Feb. 7, 2013—There is a direct correlation between gas prices and changes in market shares for various types of vehicle sales, according to an Experian Automotive study on the impact of rising fuel prices on vehicles segments over a five-year period.

The analysis showed the biggest market share gainer to be the small-car economy segment, which rose by .7 percent for every dollar increase in fuel price. Experian Automotive says that these finding show that on average, a $1 spike in a gallon of fuel means every dealer in the nation could see one more small-car economy vehicle sale about every three months.

Conversely, the same price increase caused the full-size pickup segment to lose .5 percent market share. Sales of hybrid vehicles only increased by .2 percentage points, while sales of hybrid trucks actually fell by .1 percentage points.

"While higher fuel prices tend to get people talking, actual consumer behavior is affected primarily at the vehicle segment level,” said Erik Hjermstad, lead analytic consultant for Experian Automotive. “What this means for dealers is not necessarily a change in number of vehicles sold, but rather a shift in which vehicles people are buying."

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