America’s love affair with the pickup truck appears to be back on. For the last five years, variable gasoline prices have pushed the United States’ favourite utility vehicle into the shadows, replaced by the energy efficient Toyota Prius and a variety of other hybrid cars. But despite considerable incentives for American citizens to purchase a hybrid, more than ever are buying a pickup.
Most auto industry experts believe it has something to do with the price of gasoline. The United States has one of the world’s lowest retail gasoline prices for a developed country, with a gallon of unleaded fuel typically costing less than $3. While several states tax their gasoline above to above the median price, the vast majority of American outlets are offering cheaper gas than ever before.
Is that enough to lure buyers back towards a pickup truck? You betcha’. Sales of Toyota’s Tacoma four-wheel-drive utility vehicle have increased significantly over the course of the year, with the Japanese company moving more of its American assembled vehicles to customers than ever. Some observers see the increase in spending on trucks as evidence of a more stable economy.
For the country’s formerly failing automotive industry, it’s just that. With sales of hybrid vehicles and larger trucks increasing, production has been ramped up at many of the United States’ largest automotive engineering and assembly plants. President Obama recently made a visit to Ford’s large factory in Chicago, highlighting the automaker’s commercial health and long-term viability.
However, environmentalists have been quick to point out that while the increase in sales is evidence of an improving economy, it shouldn’t be taken as a positive long-term trend. With the government offering a variety of tax incentives for those who choose a hybrid automobile, it seems that a large number of vehicle shoppers will make the switch to something a little more green.