Gas prices are no win for Winnebago

Alisa Roth Mar 20, 2008
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Gas prices are no win for Winnebago

Alisa Roth Mar 20, 2008
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Scott Jagow: Good old supply and demand. The last month, US oil consumption dropped more than 3 percent compared to a year ago. Demand for gasoline fell 1 percent. So what happens to the price of oil? It’s down $10 this week to $102 a barrel this morning.

Of course, gas prices are still high, which brings me to this: Winnebago reports its earnings today. Last quarter’s numbers were surprisingly good. But with gas prices and economic concerns, nobody’s expecting too much this time around. Alisa Roth reports.


Alisa Roth: Sure, you save on food and lodging. But travelling in a motor home is not cheap. The rolling behemoths go for something like $250,000 a pop. And then there’s the gas:

Thomas McHaney:Well, I think I’ve seen diesel at 3.95, you might as well say $4. Then you put 96 gallons in there, you’re right at 400 bucks.

Thomas McHaney is president of Gone With the Winnies of North Georgia, a group of Winnebago enthusiasts. He’s been looking for ways to cut back on costs without giving up his RV completely. He’s driving a lot less these days.

Kathryn Thompson is an analyst at Avondale partners. She says owners are slowing down in other ways, too:

Kathryn Thompson: So instead of replacing it every, say two to four years, they’re pushing it out a little longer and say replacing it every three to five or maybe even six years.

She says RV sales began to sputter in late 2006. But she’s convinced an industry that made it through the fuel shortages and high interest rates of the 70’s can roll through this recession, too.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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