Gas prices put fuel-efficient cars in demand

May 14, 2008 4:35:42 AM PDT
The demand for fuel-efficient cars is so high, that many dealers are having trouble just keeping them on the lot.

It's the pain at the pump that is fueling sales. Many hybrid dealers say once gas went past $3.50 a gallon, hybrid sales have gone --as one salesman called it-- hog wild.

For a lot of people like tracy johnson, car buying has become a lot simpler. She says it is all about miles per gallon.

"We are really considering, downsizing or cars so we are not having to spend as much on gas," Johnson said.

At Bryan Honda in Fayetteville, hybrids are in high demand. But if you want to buy one and drive it off the lot, there is a wait.

"I think if I had six weeks supply right now, we could sell them all them week. Demand is that high," said Gary Winebarger with Bryan Honda.

According to the EPA the Toyota Prius gets the best gas mileage with the Honda Civic Hybrid coming in second.

For conventional gas powered cars, it's the Smart Car then the Toyota Yaris.

Toyota says its Prius sales are up 45 percent this year, and many dealers say customers may have to wait two to six weeks to drive one home.

"We get about 18 to 20 a month, and right now we got a back order I think we got two or three still coming in that are not spoken for yet," said Tom Costello with Hendrick Toyota.

Some customers are so concerned about gas prices, that Anthony Kimbrell is ready to trade his full size Ford truck he bought new two months ago.

"Since we have had this, gas prices have skyrocket, now we have to budget our money just to fill up," Kimbrell said.

And if you are looking for any big discount deals when shopping for a hybrid, most dealers say they have no trouble selling their hybrids at sticker price.

For other fuel efficient gasoline powered cars, there may be a little wiggle room, but that too could evaporate as the price at the pump continues to go up.


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