U.S. auto manufacturers, sit up and pay attention: the long-run effect of these high gasoline prices may be a change in the preferences of customers. What brought this home to me this morning was this post from Glenn Reynolds about car shopping with his wife. They compared a Toyota Highlander hybrid and a Subaru Tribeca. Their conclusion is an example of the kind of change I’m talking about:
The winner: The Highlander. The mileage is actually better than the Passat, especially in town where I do most of my driving, it’s roomier and comfier, while driving amazingly well for something of its size. I doubt that it’s worth the premium for the hybrid on a purely economic basis — especially as old-style SUVs are trading at a deep discount now, with lots of “$5000 off” signs around the dealers, which would buy a lot of gas — but if you don’t want a minivan, and you do want room, and you’re offended by the idea of getting 16 miles per gallon, then it looks pretty good.
Yes. We were in the southern tier of New York this weekend, visiting my grandmother and aunt, and the Rochester airport had several cars on display from a local dealer. I have been lusting after a Honda S2000 convertible for some time, but the mileage is only 20 city/25 highway, which takes some of the bloom off of the rose. I’ll wait until they have a hybrid version, which will be good for both torque and mileage.