The sale of high-end buses converted into motorhomes dropped to 195 units in 2008 compared to 309 in 2007, a 37% decline, caused in part by high fuel prices that peaked mid-year, according to National Bus Trader magazine.

”When diesel fuel approached $5 per gallon, the cost of moving a converted coach around starts getting expensive,” the trade magazine noted. ”Possibly too expensive for some people.”

National Bus Trader reported that conversions also lost share in the overall bus market which itself declined in 2008 to 2,017 from 2,173 in 2007 – a drop of 7%. Conversions in 2008 accounted for 9.7% of the total bus market, down from 14.2% in 2007, representing their lowest share since 1997.

On the other hand, National Bus Trader noted that the 2008 total bus sales weren’t far off of the 20-year average of 2,249. “When you consider that this includes a few years of record-breaking sales … 2008 does not seem that far out of the ordinary,” the magazine said.