U.S. automakers acknowledging that gas prices are likely to stay high

Expect gasoline prices to stay between $3 and $4 a gallon for the rest of the decade, says … no, not some fearmongering environmentalist or peak-oil nut, but Chrysler CEO Thomas LaSorda. In fact, all of Detroit’s Big Three automakers have resigned themselves to current gas prices and are revamping their business models accordingly. “We are looking at it as if it’s going to be much higher, rather than hoping it comes down,” LaSorda said this week. Ford’s chief sales analyst agreed, but declined to cite a price range, sniffing, “I think only a fool would forecast gas prices.” Nice to see the nods to reality, but as it takes three to four years for an automaker to develop a new vehicle, the Big Three will inevitably be playing catchup: Pickups, SUVs, and minivans comprise about 75 percent of Chrysler’s sales, about 67 percent of Ford’s, and about 60 percent of GM’s, while Toyota, Honda, and Nissan all boast sales lineups that are over 50 percent cars.

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