Archive for Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rethinking your ride

With $4 gas, SUVs a tough sell

Lindsay Wilson, who's moving to Florida, has been trying - so far unsuccessfully - to sell her SUV.

Lindsay Wilson, who's moving to Florida, has been trying - so far unsuccessfully - to sell her SUV.

July 19, 2008


Fuel costs put brakes on SUV sales

Rising fuel costs are putting the brakes on SUV sales. Enlarge video

These are a fraction of the SUVs, trucks and vans for sale Friday in the Lawrence area. As gasoline prices rise, "for sale" signs on such vehicles have become more common sights.

These are a fraction of the SUVs, trucks and vans for sale Friday in the Lawrence area. As gasoline prices rise, "for sale" signs on such vehicles have become more common sights.

Lindsay Wilson managed to sell two TVs, a VCR, a chair, some old "Sesame Street" stuffed animals, a dorm-room comforter, two couches - even a slipcover that she'd draped over one of the couches to hide its antiquated "old lady" fabric.

Only one item remains from her personal moving sale as the Kansas University graduate packs up for next week's relocation to Florida, where she'll start her career as a speech pathologist.

It's a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport, and she's asking $6,200.

"It's an excellent car," said her father, Terry Wilson, who recalls paying more than $15,000 five years ago for the Explorer back when the SUV was among the hottest vehicles on the road. "We had a hell of a time finding it. It took several months, and back then everybody was begging us to sell it to them."

Now, a month after putting "For Sale" scrawlings in the windows and watching as gasoline prices tickle $4 a gallon, the Wilsons are still waiting for an offer.

"It's the scare, the gas price scare," Terry Wilson said. "I didn't think I'd have any problems selling it, but people are shying away."

Throughout Lawrence and across the country, owners of SUVs, large trucks and minivans - vehicles with relatively large thirsts for fuel - are facing more than especially large gasoline bills. Such owners also are grappling with a corresponding slippage in demand for their assets.

Junior Brubeck, president of Jim Clark Motors in Lawrence, acknowledged that demand for SUVs had decreased during the past year.

Sales of new SUVs at his dealership are down about 30 percent from a year ago, he said. And while prices remain relatively steady - unlike for used SUVs, whose prices are off 20 percent to 25 percent - incentives are being offered to help customers be more comfortable buying new SUVs.

"Everything is market-driven," Brubeck said.

But Brubeck takes comfort in knowing that manufacturers are coming up with more fuel-efficient SUVs, and that many customers continue to buy and hold such vehicles out of need. Try pulling a boat, hauling equipment or ferrying around a large family with an economy car.

For someone with needs, and a desire to avoid ending up with a minivan, a mid-size SUV and its 18 to 20 miles per gallon performance works out just fine.

"That can be an acceptable fuel economy," he said.

Terry Wilson sure wouldn't mind finding someone willing to live with his daughter's Ford Explorer Sport. The vehicle with 130,000 mostly highway miles gets 17 or 18 miles per gallon on the highway, and 14 to 15 miles per gallon in town.

The SUV has a sunroof and has been refreshed to the tune of $2,500 - including four new $150 tires - during the past three months.

Now the 4-wheel-drive Explorer just needs a buyer.

"It's a great car," Lindsay Wilson said. "It's kind of sad that nobody wants to come look at it."


KsTwister 9 years, 10 months ago

Wait until those hybrids need battery replacements---then tell me about the savings then. haha and just as polluting to get rid of them.

Duffman 9 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone know where the white 4runner {that is in the small pics} is located?

oldvet 9 years, 10 months ago

Lindsay... you can't sell it because you have it overpriced for today's market... Kelley Blue Book puts the value of that vehicle, for sale by a private party, about $2K less than your asking price... and the trade-in value to a dealer is almost $4K less than your asking price... keep driving it, taxes are lower than a new car, insurance is cheaper than a new car, and you probably don't have any payments either. If you drive 20K annual miles at 15mpg in town (your figure), it will cost you about $220 more per month in gas than a little, bitty car that gets 30mpg in town, but you can avoid the new car payment and the increased insurance and taxes that comes with that new car. Drive your Explorer until it falls apart.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 10 months ago

New York Times 1990To the Editor:I agree, the damage we are doing to the earth's environment and our health by increasing dependence on private automobiles is deplorable (''Big Wheels: How Dreams of Clean Air Get Stuck in Traffic,'' Week in Review, March 11). It is all the more tragic as it could be greatly reduced.Also, with more than 20 percent of our trade deficit going to feed our fuel-wasting habit, legislative inaction is compromising national strategic interests. Our inability to decrease this wastefulness will deplete the wealth that has made the United States a superpower and allowed our democratic institutions to stand as an example for the world.The slower we are to act, the further our landscape will adapt to transportation economics: suburban sprawl increases, cities decay, forests become shopping malls, and the cost of mass transportation climbs. With each year, the risk increases that changes will not be democratically chosen but an economic force, possibly a disaster, affecting all Americans.We are a society where it is expensive to own a car and cheap to drive one. Any shift in this equation would thus be a change for the better for our society.However, ''no new taxes'' and the failure of most of our citizens to attribute any of the world's problems to their own consumption-oriented life style make the outlook grim.Instead of shifting the responsibility to the states, Washington should impose a substantial uniform Federal excise tax on gasoline, to be phased in over a period of years. Disposing of the additional cash should prove no problem.WHARTON SINKLERPhiladelphia, March 11, 1990

bluerose 9 years, 10 months ago

i also recommend keeping it. it will be very difficult to sell at that price (although now that this is an LJW personal interest tale, it will probably receive several offers today). however, you could arrange to live close enough to your work to walk, bike or use public transportation - walk to do your errands, etc. - and only use the vehicle for occasional outings, or events where you are transporting several friends and all can pitch in for the gas. i agree 18-20 MPG is a joke on the consumer. i had to drive a rented SUV to move my daughter to college in california last month. we were putting gas in it constantly. i decided not to fret over the MPG, gas prices, etc, since we had to just do it anyway, but jeez ... the total gas expense was around $700. my mantra was "this isn't my real life". whew. glad to come home and live sans auto.

compmd 9 years, 10 months ago

Volvo XC70 with minor performance upgrades: 19-20mpg in town, 25-27 mpg highway, running on E30 fuel. The engine was designed 15 years ago. Drives like a car, carries more than a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Reliability and safety? Forged by the hand of Odin, it shall smash lesser vehicles that run into it for decades and hundreds of thousands of miles to come.Mercedes 300SD with minor modifications: 25mpg city, 38mpg highway, running on #2 Diesel, B100, or Jet-A. Mileage varies with other fuels. Basic engine design is close to 50 years old. Reliability and safety? Vehicle designed to survive nuclear holocaust (not kidding) and possibly the apocalypse so long as you check on the engine every 200k miles.Hey hybrid drivers, have fun disposing of your batteries when the time comes. Oh, and let me know about your service costs, those ought to be good. Me? I'll take my well engineered turbocharged European cars any day over the "quick and dirty" Japanese and American hybrids.

Alison Roberts 9 years, 10 months ago

HA! I love it... all those people who HAD to have an SUV are kicking themselves in the butt now. Just because its "trendy" and everyone else was getting one... thanks, but no thanks, I'll stick to a car with great gas mileage that isnt so "trendy" .

Quigly 9 years, 10 months ago

Oh for crying out loud. I just turned 18 and for college I thought the biggest 4 wheel drive truck I can get would be perfect. I live alone and have no job but hey, I am not paying for it. My parents have enough money. I think me and my buddies will all pile in and roam the back alley of Ltown to find some innocent people to beat up. How un-American can you people be? U S A! U S A ! U S A!

overthemoon 9 years, 10 months ago

"For someone with needs, and a desire to avoid ending up with a minivan, a mid-size SUV and its 18 to 20 miles per gallon performance works out just fine."That can be an acceptable fuel economy," he said."That Mr. Brubeck, is NOT acceptable fuel economy...remember that the gas guzzlers also pour pollutants out the muffler. Its not just what it costs at the pump, its what it costs in the atmosphere.Gas prices came down yetsterday, due to lower demand. Those of us who have bought hybrids or high fuel economy cars have done our part....I have yet to know anyone who really 'needs' an SUV or Mega Pickup. Ok, contractors and other business uses that require hauling large and heavy equipment. Look around and what you'll see are a lot of really big SUV's with one person in them...often a petite little gal who obviously isn't headed to the lumber yard.Face it...the big stupid cars are a fashion statement more than a response to 'need'.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 9 years, 10 months ago

I have an suv too. It's paid for and I don't drive a lot, so I am keeping it for now. I want a station wagon, but my wife says not until the new tractor is paid off. Makes sense to me. Good luck selling your's. Thank you, Lynn

storm 9 years, 10 months ago

Just keep it and use it for car-pooling. You'll make money. Now go advertise for car-poolers.

shoffner 9 years, 10 months ago

I wonder if they had to pay the fee like anyone else who places a classified ad...

Sean Livingstone 9 years, 10 months ago

It's the kind of mentality: It's never my fault for the current gas prices! It's not my fault for wanting an SUV, and if I cannot sell it, I'll blame in on the market and current gas prices, and yes, the oil companies! But wait, didn't you enjoy the ride of a nice SUV? Stop whinning. When will America start to take responsibility for our actions?

eagleeyes 9 years, 10 months ago

Im trying to sale my SUV for $2000 under KBB. and it has over $3000 in extras and I can't even get a bit. I even put in an option to trade for a car. I think it is the market.

labmonkey 9 years, 10 months ago

I have always hated SUV's for the reasons people have already stated. But I am starting to hate Prius owners almost as much...for example the following quote by Overthemoon:"Gas prices came down yetsterday, due to lower demand. Those of us who have bought hybrids or high fuel economy cars have done our part:."This is the attitude that South Park made fun of. I'm all for high gas mileage vehicles, just don't be an ass about it and drive 5 mph below the speed limit in the passing lane (as I have seen many Prii do on I-435). As for SUV drivers, noone feels sorry for you. Everytime I see a D-bag with a Tahoe filling up, I wish gas prices were $6 per gallon.

Yabut 9 years, 10 months ago

Agreed, logrithmic. They only seller they interviewed was this girl, while there are 34 SUV's and 24 pick-ups for sale in the classifieds today. The least the LJW should have done was interview one or two more, so this wouldn't smack of free advertising for one person.

Daytrader23 9 years, 10 months ago

I live like a rock star. I got 6 means of transportation.First three are not really mine so I will list them first. Bus, Tram, Train. I pay for no Gas. Only a yearly fee that would equate to about two months of insurance for a newer car.Second three are my Bicycles. One is a typical Euro grocery getter with a basket behind the seat, second is my road bike which is like a sports car. (fast and handles great) The third is my most expensive, ($6,000) a full suspension downhill bike for hauling a$$ down the Alps. It's been over a year since the last time I drove a car. It feels great not supporting the Arabs. Now I only support my abs.

Angela Heili 9 years, 10 months ago

We have a 15 passenger van that we got several years ago because we did foster care. We transported kids here and there and everywhere, on top of having our own children. It also pulls a horse trailer, and is great for traveling, as far as space is concerned. But we no longer do foster care, and it pretty much sits in the driveway. I drive it only when I have to. Take the seats out, and you have a closed in pickup. So it is good for hauling things when needed. Otherwise, I wait for my husband to come home and use his hybrid vehicle for errands that are further away than walking distance. I don't trailer the horses around anymore, hardly at all, and this year the kids and I are going to walk to and from school every day.The thing is paid for, the insurance is pretty inexpensive, as are the tags for it. However the gas isn't!! But the chances of us selling it are slim to none. So we are hanging on to it and only use it for special occasions! So it sits in the driveway. Otherwise it costs a little over $100 to fill it up!! I am a petite gal, but let me tell you. That 15 passenger van is no status symbol!! LOL At the time we needed a vehicle that held at least 8 people plus goodies, and didn't cost $35,000!

Deb Stavin 9 years, 10 months ago

I bought a hybrid sedan a few years ago and get 40 mpg in town. Even so, I am driving my car less frequently and riding my bicycle more. I'm self-employed, and I think twice before accepting assignments in Kansas City because the market won't allow me to raise my rates accordingly. At least I don't need to haul equipment for my graphic design work. I really feel for the very small businesses right now: the sole-proprietor lawn care guys who have to pull those open trailers, the curbside recycling operations, the house painters, etc. I just can't think of anyone who is not feeling the squeeze.

ukillaJJ 9 years, 10 months ago

To all the SUV drivers: suck an egg!!!This is what you get for carelessly polluting and spending for so many years.

notajayhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Why do I get the feeling that this young lady - or a family member - worked for the award-winning LJW? This is the second picture of the same car and both clearly displayed the phone number.I'm also wondering how many crank calls this young lady has received since this picture was published...

eel 9 years, 10 months ago

If you look in her garage she has another gas wasting Ford

monkeyhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

She was also featured in a segment on the 6 news last night. Hers must be a very special SUV.

KsTwister 9 years, 10 months ago

I have no plans to get rid of my gem. It does better than most of the cars sold in the last several years and it handles great in Lawrence with no better streets or snow plows than we have. It's totaled two cars who rear ended it and protected those in it at the time. What I save on damages the way these people drive it is well worth it. Pollution ---no more than any other. Give me a hydrogen model I'll drive that too. Jealousy will get you nowhere.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 10 months ago

"14 to 15 miles per gallon in town" No way. Just because the window sticker makes that claim does not make it real. That SUV likely gets 8-10mpg due to all the hills,stop and go driving and irregular acceleration that's typical with in town driving. 18-20mpg is not great mpg and is still considered a polluter. Not a great car for driving around town. 18-20 mpg if you are lucky is dependent on driving habits. Driving at 70 plus mph on the highway will not produce 18-20 mpg...maybe at 60mph. 18-20 mpg around town..... no way jose'.

Sean Livingstone 9 years, 10 months ago

Hey, you overpriced your SUV. I sold my used car when I priced it $1000 below KBB suggested price in 4 weeks. Don't blame the market, blame yourself for not pricing it right.

notajayhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Pywacket (Anonymous) says: "We could hear their personal testimony on how easy it was to sell their student car when it was time to move across the country-or how they decided to keep the student car for a few more years because it was economical and made good sense."Actually, my little commuter, that gets 35-36 mpg, was bought used from someone who just got a new car as a graduation present - we were the first people to look at it about an hour after the Trading Post hit the stands. Of course, she only lived about a mile and a half from the campus, so in 4 years she probably saved about a dollar and 32 cents, but I get your point.

George_Braziller 9 years, 10 months ago

I'll just keep driving my 1996 Mazda B-2300 pickup. It's paid for and at 22 mpg or so it's not a bad ride considering that a tank of gas will last me nearly a month.

craigers 9 years, 10 months ago

Duffman, I don't know if anybody has responded to you, but the background in that picture makes me think it is across the street from Haskell. There is a small car dealership there on the corner.

craigers 9 years, 10 months ago

Kam_Fong, I think it would be funny to see Uhaul not rent to Hybrid owners in order to prevent them from harming the environment. Try moving in your Prius!!!Now I know some people drive Hybrids for the right reasons but don't be a jerk about it. You don't know the needs of people. Maybe the person driving the Tahoe or Suburban have a large family and need the space. There are legitimate reasons for owning SUVs and trucks. If you drive a Hybrid, good for you. I wish I had a paid off hybrid so I could save on gas too, but I'm not in that position. Don't rub it in people's faces though.

marcdeveraux 9 years, 10 months ago

so this woman buys into the fashion statement of driving a gas hog. tough luck. if we want cheaper gas, this is the solution. nationalize the oil industry,fire the execs. hire new people at one tenth the going rate. Bang, cheaper gas.

huntershaven 9 years, 10 months ago

I find it interesting how everyone blames someone else for the problems the world has rather than looking into a mirror and seeing what the real problem is. I do not exclude myself from that statement.I would think sooner or later the blame someone else game would get tiring, but I suppose it never does for some people.It seems like it would be better for all of us to work together to find individual solutions that meet our needs and makes a small improvement which, when added to others, makes a major change for the better.Some people walk, some bike, others take public transportation. Others use what vehicles they have to do what they have to do to make a living and do what they need to do to access other resources. There is no one size fits all situations solution.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 9 years, 10 months ago

It's really cool to make fun of people who drive big vehicles...until you need help moving, pulling a trailer, picking up furniture, transporting five kids, etc, etc, etc.I have no problem with people who drive big vehicles. You see, sometimes a Prius just won't do the job.

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