Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Reincarnation of the SUV

I've read several articles lately that have indicated that the market for SUVs, big trucks and mini-vans is waning. In the first 6 months of 2008, sales have fallen 50% from last year. With gas prices soaring to unfathomable levels in the US, it's understandable why middle and high income families are trading down, so to speak.

While it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the production of new SUVs and other gas guzzlers will ride off into the sunset, I think it's a big mistake to think such vehicles will disappear from America's highways. In fact, I'm fairly sure we'll continue to see them in very large numbers for decades to come.

The difference between then and the future will be who's behind the wheel!

The poor -- and I count myself among them -- drive the castoffs of upper class society. Over the past 20 years, it's been quite easy for those of us of limited means to purchase and drive vehicles that get good gas mileage. While the rest of society embraced the motto "bigger is better", we've had to live on the other end of the spectrum.

Over the past 3 decades, my wife & I have only purchased one new vehicle and we only had the requisite funds for that purchase due to my mother's death! Except for that one instance, each new Smith family vehicle has been a used vehicle. We've owned gas-efficient Datsons, Nissans, Isuzus, Mazdas and one Ford Escort.

But, I'm afraid, those days have come to an abrupt end! In perusing the ads for used vehicles in this area, I've found that all those little cars that one used to be able to find for $4000 or less have jumped in price as more and more people are scrounging for more fuel-efficient rides.

In their place are all the SUV and monster truck castoffs. So, such vehicles won't disappear after all. I'll probably be driving one -- against my will -- within the next two to three years.

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