Who would have thought it? Gas prices go up, and the demand for smaller cars rises. Some cynics might even think that arbitrary regulations like Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards aren't necessary to encourage gas conservation. Reports the New York Times:
Soaring gas prices have turned the steady migration by Americans to smaller cars into a stampede. In what industry analysts are calling a first, about one in five vehicles sold in the United States was a compact or subcompact car during April, based on monthly sales data released Thursday. Almost a decade ago, when sport utility vehicles were at their peak of popularity, only one in every eight vehicles sold was a small car. The switch to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles has been building in recent years, but has accelerated recently with the advent of $3.50-a-gallon gas. At the same time, sales of pickup trucks and large sport utility vehicles have dropped sharply. In another first, fuel-sipping four-cylinder engines surpassed six-cylinder models in popularity in April. “It's easily the most dramatic segment shift I have witnessed in the market in my 31 years here,” said George Pipas, chief sales analyst for the Ford Motor Company.