More than two decades ago, soaring gasoline prices prompted a shift toward more fuel-efficient cars.
With gasoline prices once again on the rise, industry experts say it's too soon to predict whether it will spur a similar trend - away from gas guzzling sport utility vehicles.
"I'd be surprised if a big change happened," said Marge Sorge, editor in chief of Automotive Industries Magazine.
The price surge hasn't been going on long enough and the economy is still doing well, Sorge said. Plus, people really like SUVs, she said.
Local dealers said Thursday they hadn't seen customers steer away from buying SUVs because of rising gas prices.
People who buy SUVs that cost $30,000 to $40,000 aren't going to wince at paying a few hundred extra dollars a year for gasoline, said Mike Morrissey, spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association.