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Gas Prices to Cut New-Car Spending, Says Kelley Blue Book

April 29, 2008

IRVINE, Calif. – According to the latest Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research study (www.kbb.com), the number of new-car shoppers adjusting their spending habits due to increasing gas prices has reached a record high.

The April 2008 results revealed that 65 percent of shoppers are spending less on non-essential retail items as a result of high gas prices, compared to 42 percent just six months ago in October 2007.

Additionally, 53 percent indicated they eat out less often, 48 percent purchase fewer media entertainment items, 15 percent carpool or find alternative means of transportation and 10 percent have delayed purchasing a new home.

Furthermore, the portion of shoppers who say they will not change their spending habits due to gas prices has decreased from 43 percent in October 2007 to 22 percent in April 2008.

Many contributing economic factors have been detrimental to consumers and their shopping and purchase decisions in the last few months. During the third week of April, the price of oil jumped to nearly $120 a barrel and forecasts have speculated gas will cost an average of $4 per gallon in some parts of the country during the coming summer months.

The situation is causing consumers to consider more fuel-efficient vehicles. The April 2008 Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research study showed that 47 percent of new-car shoppers would seriously consider a more fuel-efficient vehicle if gas prices increase another $0.25 or less, compared to 26 percent in October 2007.

“The effect gas prices have on consumer spending and shopping behaviors indicate how important fuel costs are to the economy,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book and kbb.com. “Gas prices are already affecting vehicle sales in every segment, and traditional sport utility vehicles have been especially hard hit. Other industries will feel the pinch as consumers cut out life’s little luxuries like clothes, eating out and entertainment just so they can pay the fuel bills.”

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