Rocket Fuel

When Less is More


When you think about changes throughout automotive history, you likely think of evolving body styles, regrettable fads, and gradual improvements. Changes in automotive trends can be attributed to a wide array of forces, both direct and indirect. Naturally, as gas prices have ticked upwards, the demand for more compact, fuel-efficient vehicles has followed the upward trajectory. The trend is nothing new, as we’ve seen the same trend for decades, yet the end result has largely ended the same. According to a recent Car Buzz headline, “People Want Small Cars, But Automakers Stopped Selling Them.” Unfortunately for consumers, finding a smaller, more efficient vehicle is difficult to find, both new and used.

Generally, when the price at the pump is palatable, car buyers tend to flock to larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles.  During periods of reasonable gas prices, sales of trucks and SUVs soar while the demand for more sensible commuter vehicles plummets. In response to immediate consumer demand, several automakers have either limited or eliminated their more efficient offerings. According to Car Buzz “Two years ago, FCA made a similar move to kill off the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart in order to focus on more profitable trucks and SUVs.” These decisions have led to a limited and expensive market for both new and used fuel-efficient vehicles.


To even the most casual automotive observer, it has become painfully clear that new car prices have been on a meteoric rise. During this time, as mentioned earlier, more automakers have abandoned their offerings of sedans and compacts in favor of larger vehicles. According to Market Watch, “…as fuel costs hit a four-year high in the first quarter of 2018, some of those ‘price-sensitive consumers’ started to reconsider the switch from car to SUV or truck, Edmunds said. As a result, smaller cars are moving off dealer lots quicker.” This sudden change has had a direct impact on the used car market.

Not long after smaller vehicles became an afterthought to automakers, gas prices changed demand and had an immediate impact on the used car market. Per The Automotive News “Small used-car prices in the second quarter rose across the board, at retail and wholesale. While some analysts point to seasonal shifts as reason for the uptick, the development also follows moves by some major automakers to curb production of small cars.” The sudden rush on smaller, more efficient vehicles has had a tangible impact on buyers: Edmunds found that retail prices for 3-year-old compacts have risen by 3.9 percent to $13,464.

As much as things change, they stubbornly remain the same. At Elio Motors, we endeavor to offer an ideal commuter vehicle that features an ultra-low price and unparalleled efficiency. There will always be changes to the automotive landscape, but we aim to provide a vehicle that can withstand the ebbs and flows of the industry.

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