Gas Prices Causing Trade-Ins

Tuesday, May 6th 2008, 11:18 am
By: News On 6

Some Green Country drivers are not waiting for oil to hit $200 a barrel. Local dealers say people are eager to get rid of their gas-guzzlers before prices climb even higher.

The News On 6's Chris Wright reports drivers are opting to trade in their SUV's for smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles.

Dealers say if you're considering doing that, you may want to do it soon, because the trade-in value of these is plummeting.

The rain may have kept customers away on Wednesday, but they are not exactly knocking down the door to buy SUV's and trucks at AutoMax Hyundai when the weather is nicer.

"We're seeing an inordinate amount of that.  Obviously the larger V-8s and the larger SUV's are not in the people's best interests these days," said David Rush of AutoMax.

Manager David Rush says people are unloading their SUV's, and opting for the cars that get at least 30 miles per gallon, like the Hyundai Accent.

"They're basically going to their consciousness of their pocketbooks instead of their lifestyle," said Rush.

Oklahomans are also snatching up hybrids. For the second year in a row, the Sooner State had the largest increase in hybrid registration in the country, a rise of 148%.

The shift to more fuel-efficient cars has hurt auto-makers like Chrysler. Trucks and SUV's account for 70% of Chrysler's sales.

On Wednesday, the company announced a drastic measure aimed at attracting more buyers. Any new Dodge, Jeep or Chrysler vehicle now comes with a Let's Refuel America Gas Card.

The card is good for three years, and guarantees the owner will pay $2.99 a gallon for gas. Chrysler foots the rest of the bill.

Chrysler is hoping this gas deal will help to boost sales all across the country, and help to move some of these SUV's off the lot.      

"It will help sales, it will help the customer, so it's a good thing," said Randy Wilson of South Pointe Chrysler.

The card expires after three years, and by then, gas guzzlers may be a thing of the past.

Before trading in your SUV, experts say you should make sure the savings you get from a fuel-efficient vehicle outweighs the loss you might take on your trade-in.