Gas prices and internet searches

From Bill Tancer’s blog at hitwise.com, some interesting patterns regarding internet searches and the price of gasoline.

When gas prices go up, Tancer sees a sharp spike in searches for hybrid vehicles and a less pronounced decrease in SUV searches.

(And if you are obsessed with American Idol rather than the price of gas, here is another post by Bill Tancer you will enjoy more.)

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  1. Andi says:

    Bill Tancer, prompted by high gas prices, my husband and I recently did internet searches for info on home solar panels.

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  2. Andi says:

    Bill Tancer, prompted by high gas prices, my husband and I recently did internet searches for info on home solar panels.

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  3. Bill Tancer says:

    Stephen, I couldn’t resist… just charted searches for “gas” v. searches for “blood” here:

    http://weblogs.hitwise.com/bill-tancer/2006/05/blood_and_gas.html

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  4. Bill Tancer says:

    Stephen, I couldn’t resist… just charted searches for “gas” v. searches for “blood” here:

    http://weblogs.hitwise.com/bill-tancer/2006/05/blood_and_gas.html

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  5. Taed says:

    If you do a similar search using the new Google Trends, there is not the same correlation at all. For example, with “gas prices”, you see the same peak in September 2005, but the other two spikes are not present.
    http://www.google.com/trends?q=%22gas+prices%22

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  6. Taed says:

    If you do a similar search using the new Google Trends, there is not the same correlation at all. For example, with “gas prices”, you see the same peak in September 2005, but the other two spikes are not present.
    http://www.google.com/trends?q=%22gas+prices%22

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  7. Don says:

    The economics of diesels and hybrids are interesting. I live in the UK where petrol prices are sky-high compared with the US, so I researched buying a car with a diesel engine and learned that it doesn’t make sense for a person looking for a used car as I was.

    The trouble is that prices for used diesels cars tend to be £2000 more than for comparable petrol models, and the yearly savings on fuel for a normal driver (say 12,000 miles a year) about £250-300 a year. One would have to drive the car between 7 and 8 years to make up the difference in price not counting additional finance costs or higher maintanence costs for diesel autos.

    The economics for new models are a little different as diesel prices are only £1000 to £1500 more and the expected life of the auto longer. Also diesels tend to hold their value somewhat better for resale purposes. So if one plans to buy a new car and drive it 10 years the economics barely make sense.

    The economics also tend to make sense for high-mileage drivers. A person driving 24,000 miles a year will save £400-500 a year in fuel costs which will amortize the up-front costs much more quickly.

    I assume that the economics of hybrids are worse given that I understand that they require replacement of the electric system after 3 years at a cost of £3000. So when I see hybrids described as status symbols I can readily understand why. Until maintenence and up-front costs can be brought down or the price of petrol doubles they won’t make a lot of economic sense.

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  8. Don says:

    The economics of diesels and hybrids are interesting. I live in the UK where petrol prices are sky-high compared with the US, so I researched buying a car with a diesel engine and learned that it doesn’t make sense for a person looking for a used car as I was.

    The trouble is that prices for used diesels cars tend to be ?2000 more than for comparable petrol models, and the yearly savings on fuel for a normal driver (say 12,000 miles a year) about ?250-300 a year. One would have to drive the car between 7 and 8 years to make up the difference in price not counting additional finance costs or higher maintanence costs for diesel autos.

    The economics for new models are a little different as diesel prices are only ?1000 to ?1500 more and the expected life of the auto longer. Also diesels tend to hold their value somewhat better for resale purposes. So if one plans to buy a new car and drive it 10 years the economics barely make sense.

    The economics also tend to make sense for high-mileage drivers. A person driving 24,000 miles a year will save ?400-500 a year in fuel costs which will amortize the up-front costs much more quickly.

    I assume that the economics of hybrids are worse given that I understand that they require replacement of the electric system after 3 years at a cost of ?3000. So when I see hybrids described as status symbols I can readily understand why. Until maintenence and up-front costs can be brought down or the price of petrol doubles they won’t make a lot of economic sense.

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