By Hans Greimel, Crain News Service
TOKYO (March 6, 2015) — Falling oil prices will boost global auto sales 1.5 percent through 2019, with the biggest windfalls coming in North America, IHS Automotive said in a new forecast.
The outlook, offered during a conference in Tokyo March 5, translates to as many as 7 million more cars sold than would have been if oil prices had remained high and stable.
“There is an upside opportunity with lower oil prices,” said Mark Fulthorpe, director of light-vehicle forecasts. “There are 5 million to 7 million units that could be directly affected.”
The sudden plunge of crude prices, from levels above $100 a barrel last year, will bolster consumer confidence most in markets with low fuel taxes and less burdensome regulation, IHS said.
Taxes trim savings
For example, a $1 reduction in gasoline prices delivers a 33-percent discount on fuel at $3 a gallon, vs. a 17-percent discount in markets where taxes push pump prices to $5 a gallon.