Since the day gas prices rose above a dollar, all vehicle owners have had their eye on the seemingly ever-increasing cost of gas. Drivers continually cringe as those big white numbers outside their local gas station tic upwards and never seem to go down. Many get excited when there is a ten or more cent drop, but are only disappointed a few days later when the prices climb sky high once again. Until recently, this increasing trend has seemed to be never ending.
The national average for gas prices has finally been trending downward for a few weeks, and consumers are starting to get comfortable with the nearly dollar difference in previous months’ pricing. With climbing gas prices a seemingly distant worry, those buying vehicles are focusing on other features, rather than the fuel economy.
As you can guess, this isn’t the best news for automakers that have spent months or even years trying to come up with the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the market. In the wake of lowered gas prices, makers of hybrid and electric vehicles have been forced to continually reduce their prices. Although this may be great news for those in the market for a new vehicle, company’s like Ford are less than thrilled.
USA Today recently reported that Ford dropped the price on their Focus Electric by $6,000. This entirely battery powered vehicle had already experienced a $4,000 price cut a year earlier, making it clear that electric vehicles are no longer the “next big thing” for potential car owners. In addition to the Focus Electric, electric vehicles from all companies have been suffering and their dropping prices clearly reflect that.
The battery-charged vehicles aren’t the only ones suffering, either. Ford spent nearly $3 billion over the course of five years to come up with a truck that boasted better fuel efficiency than any other truck. One of their solutions was to create an aluminum-bodied truck, dropping the weight of the vehicle by hundreds of pounds and ultimately increasing fuel efficiency. This metal is more expensive, however, so Ford was counting on the vehicle’s fuel efficiency factor to merit an increase in price.
With the 2015 launch date of this aluminum vehicle not too far away, it’s safe to say that the head honchos at Ford are starting to sweat. Because fuel efficiency is clearly no longer one of the main drivers of purchase as of late, the likelihood of buyers wanting to pay extra for a fuel-efficient vehicle is slim. This could mean a price-cut for the vehicle that Ford has spent billions of dollars perfecting.
There is still hope for Ford and its fellow automakers, though. Chances are, the gas prices will inevitably rise again and consumers will be back to panicking over filling their tanks. Until then, however, auto companies will be scrambling to make up for the potential lost sales this unexpected gas price decrease has caused.