All posts by ronniethescoop

Sports lover, outdoorsman, avid reader, guitar player, and a teacher/administrator in the DFW Metroplex.

The Voice of Reason: Are Big Vehicles Back?

Have you noticed anything different lately as you drive in your city or on the highway? Big vehicles are back. We’re seeing more pickup trucks and SUVs on the road these days, and Hummers have even made a reappearance. The main reason?  Gas prices. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they are at their lowest point since 2010.

gas-prices2According to GasBuddy.com, as of Monday, November 17th, 2014, the price of gas ranged from $3.94 in Hawaii to around $2.67 in Texas, and $2.61 in South Carolina. Keep in mind that those numbers don’t even account for the locally-owned gas stations that compete for business and often are 15-20 cents lower than the state average. Locally for me in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it ranges anywhere from $2.43 to $2.60.

What do falling gas prices mean for car dealerships? The big boys are back in town!

Over the last month, auto analysts say that consumers have shown a fresh interest in the kind of SUVs — Hummers, Lincoln Navigators, Ford Explorers — that typified America’s bigger-is-better mindset of twenty years ago. The new mindset among some car buyers is one of the most unexpected consequences of a domestic oil boom that has helped global crude prices plummet in recent months, with the cost of a gallon of gas now below $3.

As oil prices hit a three-year low, Americans are starting to see price changes that could ultimately influence everything from their grocery shopping to their heating bills to their travel. The lower prices have the potential to nudge the U.S. further away from its dreary post-recession mindset, leaving instead a nation with more affordable air and road transportation options, higher consumer confidence, and yes, a few more gas-guzzlers driving around.

CLICK HERE to check real-time gas prices across the United States.

I checked with local auto dealerships in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and the results were almost identical among them. To a man, each place I contacted told me that truck sales, SUV sales, and “bigger” vehicle sales were up about 15%.

Most pickup trucks will get 18-23mpg on the road and 13-18mpg in the city, while Hummers will usually get 10 gallons to the mile. (Did ‘ya catch that one? I kid. They run about 10mpg.) 

imagesThat is the definition of a gas guzzler. When gas prices soared several years ago, it darn near killed off the Hummer. Luckily for GM, the interest is back! Toyota, Ford, and GM are all reporting a surge in customer interest in their larger vehicles.

So, as you drive around the next few days, look around to see how many “bigger” vehicles are on the road. It may surprise you, and leave you … humming along. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) 

Let me hear from you: Have you recently made a purchase that was at least in part influenced by the drop in gas prices? Hit me up on Twitter with your experience!


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @CapnDD.

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The Voice of Reason: Use Your Voice, Now!

This October, you, as a voter get to have your voice heard. The only problem is, with apathy so rampant, NOBODY VOTES. NOBODY.

RVANews.com
RVANews.com

According to the Federal Elections Commission, Gubernatorial election turnout averages only 28.4 percent in Texas. 28.4%. That’s it! We’re allowing a little over a quarter of the voting populace to decide who leads our state. How many of those people who vote even pay attention to the issues? How many vote simply because of party affiliation?

If this is you, shame on you. Why not do some research on the candidates and see which one falls in line with your thinking? Sometimes the “liberal” can be more fiscally conservative than the “conservative.” Sometimes the “conservative” cares more about the “little man” than the “liberal” does.

In the Texas gubernatorial election, you have the choice between two candidates.

Texas Tribune

Candidate #1 is Greg Abbott, the current Texas Attorney General. He runs as a Republican.  He’s been a State District Judge, Supreme Court Judge, and now, serves as the Attorney General. He has experience in state government. His biography reads as such: Greg Abbott is one of the nation’s leading advocates for stopping the federal overreach of the Obama Administration, a defender of the Constitution, and a conservative to the core.

Texas Tribune2

Candidate #2 is Wendy Davis, a current State Senator. She is an attorney who worked with her husband before going their separate ways. Davis is a relative newcomer to politics, after serving as a Fort Worth city councilwoman and then as a state senator. Her biography reads like this: In 2011, Senator Davis stood up and filibustered a budget that slashed over $5 billion from our public schools. And Wendy’s leadership in the legislature was instrumental in getting a majority of that funding restored to the budget in 2013.

It doesn’t matter who you vote for, as long as you make your voice heard. If you don’t vote, then you have no right to criticize the elected officials. This is when YOU get a change to make a difference. The apathy is everywhere, with people grumbling about candidate X or candidate Y.

If you’ve had enough, take a stand. Vote for the person who most follows your line of thinking and for the love of Pete, DO NOT simply vote ( R ) or ( D ) because, “That’s what we’ve always done.”

Early voting began this Monday, so the time is now to go out and make your voice heard. Question is, will you? Or will you allow someone else to speak for you?

Don’t even get me started on the Texas Lt. Governor’s race. Do you even know who’s running? Sigh.

Answer: Dan Patrick (R) 
Leticia Van de Putte (D)

Take ten minutes of your day to read up on the candidates. Your future is worth it! Click here for information on early voting locations across the state of Texas.

Let Your Voice Be Heard. Please.


Ronnie Garcia is The Voice of Reason at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @CapnDD.

 

The Voice of Reason: What Kind of Dance is This?

At some point in our lives, we have to bite the bullet and purchase a new vehicle.

What's it gonna take to you get YOU in this car TODAY?
What’s it gonna take to you get YOU in this car TODAY?

It’s a part of life.  It is a rite of passage, inevitable, like death and taxes. What I don’t get is all the song and dance we have to go thru to finalize the “deal.” How hard is it? I need a car, they have cars for sale. Simple. Right?

Wrong.

I’m in the process of buying a “new” vehicle. Well, technically it is a used truck, but it’s new to me. I’m okay with that because I figured out a long time ago to buy used. Let someone else take the depreciation hit for a couple of years. That way, all I am paying for is the actual value of the vehicle. Sounds simple, right?

I LOATHE going to car dealerships because of the dance we have to do before the deal is consummated. First off, the “sticker price” is not the actual price. Wait, what? Yeah. The “sticker price” is a negotiating place that hopefully will go in your favor. Here’s how it goes down:

You tell the salesman which vehicle you want, and he counters by affirming that you have made a great choice, but lets you know that he has other customers looking at it, too, conveying a sense of urgency that if you don’t get it now, it will be gone. Then he tallies up the cost of the vehicle with tax, title, and license and he gives you the “price.” You then counter back because the payment of $xxx is too much for you. At this point, you’re done. He will then tell you he has to go and “talk with the sales manager” about the deal to see what can be done.

Voilà!

2012-32-01-used-car-dealerHe comes back to you with “good news!” He’s worked out a lower payment per month, and it is just under your maximum budgeted amount.  You then counter with a different offer. You have now both engaged in performing the “forbidden dance” of saving the customer money! He tells you that the manager will kill him for doing this, but alas, you get the car of your dreams for the amount you want.

What they don’t tell you is that inside all the financing mumbo jumbo, they stick it to you with fees and other sundry items that will make your head spin. Ugh.

Not making an endorsement, but I like to buy my vehicles from dealers who have “no haggle” prices. What you see is what you get. What I’m getting is a dang good deal for my truck and I am very happy about it.

As I leave the dealership, I tell my wife, “Nope, not buying that here, from him.” We leave and the salesman thinks, “Got him! Another sucker in my pocket!” And thus, goes the dance of the human being who just wants to pay a fair price for a good vehicle without someone mucking it all up with sales managers, finance managers, or some other office clod who makes money off of him.

Sorry boys, but my dance card is filled! 


Ronnie Garcia is the voice of reason at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @CapnDD.