End of the Road for the SUV?

Whilst my girlfriend is back in the USA news comes in that the Americans are suffering gas, or rather $4 a gallon gas I should say. Some of them are praying for gas!

You'd think the Americans haven't got anything to complain about, after all us Brits, who pay roughly £4.20 or $8.40 a gallon*, the price of gas/petrol in the UK is more than double what they're paying over the pond. Well, there was a time in the last couple of years, as my NY State other half reminds me, when gas was just $2 a gallon. So US gas prices have doubled in the last 2 years. If that had been the case in the UK then when was the last time we paid £2.10 a (US) gallon or the equivalent of 55p a litre? (It was 1997 apparently, so petrol prices have doubled in 10 years compared to just 2 years in the US. UPDATE 20080523: 10 year UK petrol price figures here at the BBC website)

Now why, you might ask, am I bitching about the price of gas on a green website? Well, I'm just pointing out some facts before seeing how this seems to be damaging America's thirst for gas-guzzling cars. You see, back at the beginning of May, The Independent newspaper reported that High Petrol Prices See Americans Ditch SUVs. It seems that $4 a gallon is really starting to change drivers habits over there. Sales of the Hummer for instance, dropped by around 20% last year and by 30% in the first 3 months of this year, according to the story. One website reports that the Hummer will be dead by 2014.

There's more detail on the decline of SUV sales in the US in that article, but think about this... if oil prices have roughly doubled in the last two years, if the price of gas in the US has doubled over the same period, and if oil does reach $200 a barrel, then isn't it a possibility that US gas could reach the $8 a gallon mark, similar to the price we currently pay in the UK?

Sure, us Brits will probably still see an increase in petrol prices but it does appear, at the moment, that we are a little less susceptible to the incredible price increases that Americans seem to be currently bearing.

* Based upon the average UK price of 1.13 per litre according to petrolprices.com on Monday 19th May and converted to US gallons. A US gallon is 3.79 litres where a UK (Imperial) gallon is 4.54 litres.