Gasoline prices are high and US fleets are overflowing with the least fuel-efficient vehicles.
Dealerships have a limited supply of hybrids and fuel-efficient small cars for sale. You’ll have a much easier time finding a full-size truck or 3-row SUV in dealership stock.
Dealerships measure their supply of cars for sale by a metric called “days of inventory” – how long it would take them to sell cars at the current rate if they weren’t buying new inventory.
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They are historically low on everything right now. At the end of May, dealers had an average of 34 days of cars to sell, 25% less than a year ago.
But the numbers are worse for more fuel-efficient cars. Dealerships ended the month with an average of just 19 days of compact cars available. They had 20 days of hybrid cars and only 22 days of intermediate cars.
At the other end of the mpg scale, the story is much better. Dealers ended May with 45 days of full-size SUVs in stock. They had a 49 day supply of full size pickups. They’ve held nearly 60 days of high-end luxury cars like the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class — heavy-duty cars with powerful engines that often boast fuel economy numbers on par with trucks.
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Blame the microchips again
Part of the problem is demand – high gas prices are driving Americans to seek out more fuel-efficient cars.
But it is also the current global shortage of microchips.
SUVs and pickup trucks are higher-margin cars. They make more money for automakers than smaller sedans.
Short of microchips, automakers have found themselves unable to build as many vehicles as the market demands. To stay afloat, they use whatever chips they can acquire to build their most profitable models. That leaves fewer fuel-efficient small vehicles rolling out of factories.
This story originally took place on KBB.com.