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Gas Price Increases Start Impacting Auto Shopping Behavior

March 10, 2011

Hybrids gain share among online consumer auto shopping online as SUVs decline

Nashville, TN — Was $3.40 the magic gas price for Hybrids? Though gas prices have been increasing steadily over the past 6 months, hybrids until recently, have not benefited as consumers continued to shop for less fuel efficient cars, SUVs, and trucks. However, once the national average for gasoline broke $3.40 per gallon, the trends began to reverse.

"Typically gas prices have not impacted auto shopping behavior, however recent increases have begun to change online auto shopping behavior," stated Jason Ezell, President of Dataium. He added, "Consumers have generally only responded to long sustained periods of gas price increases, and then reverted back to prior behavior once they got use to the higher prices. That said, recent rapid increases combined with news of unrest in the Middle East has clearly turned the tide."

During the month of February, hybrid inventory searches as a share of all auto searches demonstrated a trend line that was nearly identical to trends in gas prices. Interest in hybrids increased 10% as gas prices increased by 5%. Still, inventory searches for hybrids represent only 1.5% of all inventory searches by prospective auto buyers. Historically, once gas prices reverse course, the American consumers' search behavior changes course just as quickly. It remains to be seen whether such a reverse in trend will occur after this gas price spike subsides as well, or will the continued political instability in the Middle East motivate consumers to hedge their bets.

For more information and analysis, Dataium has posted its inventory search and gas price metrics at www.gaspriceaffect.com.

About Dataium, LLC
Dataium is the largest aggregator of Internet automotive shopping activity. The company collects, analyzes, and indexes billions of online automotive shopping events. Dataium supports patented data collection and reporting technology; VisiCogn® Collection Utility, VisiCogn® Knowledge Center, VisiCogn® INSITE, and is also known for its ASI™ index. For more information, visit www.dataium.com, email: [email protected], or call 877-896-DATA (3282).

03/09/11

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