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Will High Gas Prices Sour Car Sales?

As gas prices soar, some auto industry observers worry they may derail the car sales revival.

Car Sales
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

But others take the opposite view. As of last Thursday, the National average for a gallon of gas was 3.88. You can figure it was about 20-cents-per-gallon cheaper here in New Jersey.

They say U-S consumers are on track to buy 1.4-million veghicles this year, gas prices notwithstanding. If that prediction holds true, it wll be a six percent sales increase.

While there’s is concern ever-higher pump prices may change that, Jim Appleton of the Coalition of Auto Retailers says consumers who are concerned about gas prices are going to look out at the choices that they have in the market place, choices that they did not have ten years ago.  And they are going to say, “Geez, I think this would be a great time to buy a new car.”

He says the average age of cars on the road right now is over ten years, and with the influx of new crossover and hybrid models, buyers have many more fuel-efficient choices now than they did just a few years ago.

Stll, skeptics say the real test for how robust car sales will fare for this entire year may come along later this spring or summer, when gas prices are expected to hit their peak. If consumers still want to kick tires and sign stuff in a showroom, then the auto industry will declare the year a success, or at least an improvement.

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