CNN reports, "U.S. gasoline prices topped out Monday at $3.50 per gallon for self-serve regular, according to AAA -- the highest average price the national auto club has ever recorded." Last month, "the reading was $3.26 a gallon, and a year ago it was $2.85."
Many analysts have been predicting $4/gallon gas by the end of summer.
The Dallas Morning News adds, "Diesel fuel prices also reached a record $4.20 a gallon Monday, compared with $2.93 a gallon a year earlier. That's sure to add to truckers' costs and drive up the price of food, clothing and other goods shipped by truck."
According to USA Today, Drivers are cutting back. Gasoline sales have fallen 2% to 11% a month since December in a study by 13 owners of stations scattered across the USA that are not direct competitors, says Jay Ricker, a member of a study group. He's president of Ricker Oil, which runs 30 Marathon and BP stations in Indiana."
Gas prices have pushed many to seek more fuel-efficient ways to drive, research ways to find cheaper gas, and squeeze more mileage out of the cars they already own.
Vehicle sales are affected as well. The Detroit News reports, "Auto sales are falling harder and faster this year than anyone anticipated," a crash driven in part by the fuel-price spike. "Big pickup and SUV sales have tanked, and auto executives don't expect them to recover to their recent peak levels." A few manufacturers " re proving resilient in this downturn: Honda Motor Co., which has a strong lineup of new, fuel-efficient cars in its range, and some European luxury carmakers that appeal to affluent buyers less affected by the economic downturn."
Higher gas prices are certainly changing the auto industry's focus. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer comments, " A look at the vehicles on display at the New York auto show last month suggests that the design of scaled-down models -- often called B-class cars by the industry and city cars by marketers -- is improving."
Among the fuel-efficient, smaller cars automaker has rolled out in recent shows: A new Ford Fiesta that impressed reviewers in Geneva, and the new 2009 Honda Fit, a redesign of Honda's wildly successful subcompact.
Research the most fuel-efficient cars currently on the market with U.S. News' car rankings and reviews