– A new study available today from Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research reveals that a strong majority of American consumers do not see the purchase of an SUV as “patriotic.” In the third installment of the company’s annual New-Vehicle Buyer Attitude Study on SUVs, nearly 90 percent of shoppers in the market to buy or lease a new vehicle do not believe that SUV drivers should be described as patriotic. Compared with attitudes of the new-vehicle-shopping group last year, the percentage of those who described SUV drivers as patriots dropped 12 points to 11 percent, the lowest level in the study’s history. Similarly, the number of vehicle shoppers considering an SUV has fallen to 34 percent, also the lowest level in the three years of the study. The only segment among sport/utilities to see any growth in interest is small SUVs. Interest in purchasing a mid-size or full-size SUV decreased, and luxury SUVs remained flat. According to Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research and recent sales figures, interest in SUVs is rapidly declining and the high price of fuel is a major cause. Last year, the study showed that shoppers’ top reason for not considering an SUV was that it was not the type of vehicle they were interested in. This year, the No. 1 reason for not considering an SUV is the escalation of gas prices. The percentage of those citing fuel prices as a major reason to reject SUVs was up eight points from last year to 61 percent. This concern over fuel prices also has broadened to an unease over SUVs’ effect on the country’s dependence on foreign oil. In fact, 37 percent of shoppers in the study said that U.S. dependence on foreign oil is a major reason they are not considering an SUV. The New-Vehicle Buyer Attitude Study on SUVs was administered on Kelley Blue Book’s Web site, www.kbb.com/. Survey respondents include those considering buying an SUV as well as those who are not. The study was completed to determine the attitudes and views of SUVs amidst slow sales and record high U.S. gas prices.