SUV sales take a dive as gas prices ascend

It seems America is suffering from some shrinkage. SUV sales plummeted in September, compared to the same period last year. Ford Motor Co. reported a 55 percent-plus freefall in sales of mega-SUVs like the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator; sales of its F-series pickup trucks also dove about 30 percent. Other major automakers had similar reports, while sales of Japanese passenger cars and smaller trucks rose a bit. A number of factors are involved, including the end of “employee pricing” discount promotions, but the skyrocketing price of gasoline is considered the major driver behind Americans’ newfound disinterest in monstrous fuel-hogging vehicles. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, rising gas prices are also spurring renewed interest in fuel efficiency. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) hopes to tack an amendment calling for improved federal fuel-economy standards onto the energy bill currently fast-tracking through Congress.