High demand keeps global auto sales on the rise even as gasoline prices trend higher.
According to the April 2011 Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), American drivers can expect to pay an average $3.86 per gallon during the 2011 driving season with a peak of $3.91 per gallon by mid-summer.
As a result, there has been renewed consumer enthusiasm for electric and high-mileage vehicles in the United States, with President Obama reporting that the U.S. is on track to achieve its goal of 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
Although increasing gasoline costs are having an effect on the average American consumer, the effect has not been translated as severely to other parts of the world, where vehicle ownership is still on the rise. Sales of cars and light trucks is increasing rapidly in the world’s fast growing nations like China, India and Brazil.
During the month of March, Chinese vehicle sales rose 5.4% from March 2010 levels, to 1.82 million. From March 2009 to March 2010, vehicle sales rose by 25%. In India, vehicle sales as of March 2011 rose 30% on the year to 1.98 million. Brazil’s Q1 sales of cars and light vehicles rose 4.7% to 852,000. Auto sales in Turkey rose 76% to 181,631 vehicles during Q1, and Indonesia reported a 25.2% increase from the year before.
In many instances, these numbers represent first time auto purchases, as opposed to vehicles bought to replace older models. If purchasing trends continue as expected, the total number of active vehicles on the world’s roads will increase sharply, and will undoubtedly affect global patterns of petroleum demand. Read more…