The drivers won't take action towards reducing gas consumption and exiting lease contracts until gas reaches $4 per gallon, according to a report from nation's most popular online car leasing marketplace LeaseTrader.com.
LeaseTrader.com is using data and models from 2008 that show when consumer behavior will turn to action, with drivers reducing fuel consumption and realizing they should downsize into a more fuel-conscious vehicle.
The average driver goes through a series of psychological stages when gas prices rise, said Sergio Stiberman, CEO and founder of LeaseTrader.com. During the uptick, concerns and complaints heat up when we pass certain price benchmarks, but widespread behavior doesn't actually change until we reach $4.00 per gallon.
Since 2008 the auto industry has done an exceptional job engineering more fuel-efficient cars, but there are still plenty of large vehicles on the roads, many which were culprits just a few years ago. Economists are weary that rising gas prices could potentially toss a healing American economy back into recession depending how drastically gas prices spike, the study noted.
Fuel prices reached a national average of more than $4 per gallon in the summer of 2008. The drivers transferred their leases to small businesses and families shopping for short-term contracts with enough room for work projects and growing families. Similar trends are expected this spring and summer depending on where the price of gas lands, it said.