Market Snapshot


The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration has reported a decrease in the amount of miles driven. Motorists have put the brakes on recreational driving for the ninth consecutive month, reacting sharply when fuel prices peaked at a national average of $4 per gallon.

These declines could negatively influence the demand for specialty-equipment products, with consumers focusing less on automotive-related activities and seeking alternatives in their place. SEMA-member companies often rely on active lifestyles from the enthusiasts purchasing their products. From storage racks to off-road equipment, the sales of performance products and accessories that accompany automotive-centered lifestyles could decrease as a result of less traveling.

Consumers have become sensitive to the overall costs of driving in the wake of current economic conditions. Work-related commuting expenses have carried over into recreational driving, causing many motorists to park their vehicles.

June figures showed a drop of 5% and July continued with decreases of 3.6% from the previous year. Forecasts for August and September tell the same, if not worse, scenario. Petroleum demand dipped to the lowest level in 26 years. Seasonal driving patterns affected families and enthusiasts who typically travel during the summer. Some looked to other forms of entertainment for their conventional outings.

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