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AAA reports Lower Gas Prices expected to Fuel Car Sales

1 in 5 plan to purchase a vehicle in 2015

AAATampa, FL – Compared to last year, auto sales rose 14 percent in January and five percent in February, due in part to lower gas prices.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is expected to be $2.33 in 2015, down more than a $1.00 per gallon from last year’s average, according to the Energy Information Administration.

“Lower gas prices will save the American family $755.00 this year,” said Duane Williams, product manager, Financial Services, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “That’s extra money that can be put towards a vehicle purchase. We expect to see car sales increase in the next month or two as the snow starts to melt and tax refund checks begin to arrive.”

Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) consumers in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee plan to purchase a new or used vehicle in 2015, according to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey.

Click here for the complete survey.

Auto sales are expected to rise from 16.4 million to 16.94 million vehicles in 2015, says the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

Top reasons for purchasing a vehicle:

  1. Current vehicle is reliable but want something new – 44%
  2. To replace an unreliable/older vehicle – 23%
  3. To replace out of service/damaged vehicle – 13%

Interest in sports utility vehicles and light trucks has increased as gasoline has become more affordable. One-fifth (21%) of consumers are more inclined to purchase a less fuel-efficient vehicle, like an SUV, due to cheaper gas.

The price at the pump would have to hit $3.50 a gallon to dissuade one-third (32%) of those car buyers from purchasing a larger vehicle.  SUVs and light trucks are expected to account for 56% of vehicle sales in 2015, according to the NADA.

Top factors when selecting a vehicle:

  1. Cost – 76%
  2. Fuel Efficiency/MPG – 59%
  3. Vehicle make/model – 53%

“No matter what type of car you buy it is important to do your research,” said Williams. “Purchasing a vehicle can be stressful, researching your purchase and a having a plan in place will lead to a better shopping experience and ultimately save you money.”

AAA Car Buying Tips:

  • Shop around: Pick three or four models and price them out before you meet with a salesman. If you pick one specific make/model, you’re more likely to settle for the offering price.
  • Shop online: You will know the value of the vehicle you like before you get to the lot. In some cases you may get the best deal online.
  • Dress to un-impress: Don’t flaunt your wealth to a dealer. They’re less likely to negotiate.
  • Don’t rush: Avoid emotional sales, buying more than you can afford, or being upsold.
  • Timing is everything: Most dealerships offer their best deals at the end of the month, end of the year, and when they want to unload last year’s vehicle to make room for the new model.
  • Don’t mention your trade-in too soon: Wait until after the purchase price of the vehicle being bought has been negotiated. This way, the dealer is locked in to the negotiated price. Otherwise, they can manipulate the trade value and ultimately the cash price.

The biggest complaint for most car buyers is they have felt pressured to buy (43%). The majority of shoppers (51%) prefer the ease of no-haggle pricing when purchasing a vehicle. Consumers can save time, hassle and avoid the haggling with AAA’s Auto Buying Service.

There are thousands of new and used cars listed online in the Certified Dealer Network. Now, consumers can research a car and print out the “Certified Dealer Report” complete with Guaranteed Savings Certificate and the dealer’s and representative’s names. The dealer contacts the consumer to arrange a test drive. If you love it, buy it — without the worry or pressure.

About the Consumer Pulse™ Survey

The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in the Southern Region of The Auto Club Group (Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee) from January 26 – February 4, 2015. A total of 1,216 residents completed the survey. The survey has a maximum margin of error of ± 2.8 percentage points. Overall survey responses are weighted by gender and age within state to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.

About The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.

ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.


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