An analysis of user search data shows that a recent 10 percent increase in fuel prices has driven a nearly 70 percent surge in interest for hybrid vehicles and a 21 percent increase in compact vehicles, announced today.  Vehicles perceived as gas-guzzlers, like SUV’s and pickup trucks, saw declines in interest over the same period. 

The same period three years ago saw an almost identical rise in fuel prices, but changes in car shopping behavior was much slower.   “What’s most interesting about the data is how quickly car buyers have shifted their search habits compared with the same time gas prices started increasing in 2008,” says Joe Wiesenfelder, Senior Editor at  “Our searches tend to forecast sales trends and I’d say that based on these numbers, hybrids and compacts will be hot sellers in the months to come.” 

Change in Major Segments: February 9th through March 8th, 2011*
Hybrids +69%
Compacts +21%
Pickup Trucks -10%
SUVs -9%


Change in Major Segments: February 9th through March 8th, 2008*
Hybrids +25%
Compacts +7%
Pickup Trucks -3%
SUVs -7%


“It seems likely that 2011’s summer will see even higher gas prices, and as demand for hybrids and compacts continues to rise, so will prices,” said Wiesenfelder. “People looking to buy a car in the very near future should expect thinner inventories of these hot-selling models, and dealerships much less willing to negotiate on price.  The best time to buy is now before gas prices rise even further.”

For more information on how gas prices are impacting consumer searches on, click here

*Based on percent share of searches for vehicles in these segments.

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