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As the average cost of gasoline flirted with, and then eventually eclipsed $2 per gallon nationally in late spring, there was a significant spike in diesel motorhome sales in May.
According to figures compiled by research firm Statistical Surveys Inc., there was an impressive 56% increase in Class A diesel-pusher retail sales compared to May of 2003 while sales of gasoline models remained virtually unchanged.
Tom Walworth, president of the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based firm, was quick to note that the figures “only reflected one month,” and could not be interpreted as a long-term trend.
“Right now, it’s just something to note,” Walworth said. “But at least for the month of May, the industry showed a dramatic shift toward diesel. It is possible that consumers may have considered the fact that diesel fuel costs less than gasoline.
“Historically, diesels represent about 42 to 43% of overall Class A sales. In May, 52% of the motorhomes sold were diesels.”
For the month, diesel sales rose from 1,480 units in 2003 to 2,315 in 2004. Gasoline-powered Class A’s remained steady with 2,085 units sold last year compared to 2,096 in 2004.