Good news, muscle-car buyers: gas prices this summer are expected to dip below the prices we saw last year and the year before that, a U.S. Energy Information Administration report predicts. The EIA says gas prices for the driving season from April through September may be $3.63 a gallon around the U.S., which is lower than the 2012 average of $3.69 and the 2011 average of $3.71.
Look back to 2010, though, and you’ll see that the summer average was just $2.76. Lower gas prices usually means higher new-car consideration for larger SUVs and trucks and trouble for subcompacts and hybrids. Even so, the automotive industry’s tough fuel economy standards helps explain why the EIA predicts fuel consumption will be down during the driving season. A 0.3-percent increase in highway travel, the agency says, is more than accounted for by the increased efficiency of vehicles on U.S. roads.
Earlier this year, the EIA revealed its prediction that gas prices may fall to $3.44 a gallon in 2013 and again down to $3.34 a gallon in 2014. While fuel economy in all segments is bound to improve, lower gas prices should make larger vehicles including the next-generation Chevrolet Tahoe a slightly easier sell.
When you’re in the market for a new car, how do gas prices affect your search?