Term Paper: Impact of the Higher Gas Prices in the Automobile Industry

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¶ … High Gas Prices on the Automobile Industry

The heart and soul of this study, the primary research question, purports: What impact(s) do higher gas prices exert on the automobile industry (GM; Ford; Toyota; BMW; other manufacturers)? Subsequent questions include: How has the price of gas progressed through history? What do higher gas prices impact?

The study presents pertinent information/data which will prove useful to other researchers, as well as, to individuals impacted by higher gas prices, particularly those connected to the automobile industry. These individuals will especially benefit as this study aims to complement one's current understanding regarding this critical, contemporary concern.

This qualitative study utilizes the literature search methodology and obtains information from a variety of scholarly, news, general and governmental publications. Information from five interviews and a number of questionnaires is also included in this descriptive exploration to arrive at a relevant conclusion regarding Impact of High Gas Prices on the Automobile Industry.

AKNOWLEDGEMENT

Chapter I: Introduction

Chapter II: Review of the Literature

Chapter III: Historical Progression

Chapter IV: Impact of High Gas Prices

Chapter V: The Impact of High Gas Prices on the Automobile Industry

Chapter VI: Strategic Interview

GAS PRICES IMPACT AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY

CHAPTER I:

INTRODUCTION

"The combination of rising world oil consumption and low surplus production capacity is putting upward pressure on oil prices." (Energy Information Agency, 2008)

THE PROBLEM

Higher Petroleum Product Prices

Higher gas prices leave consumers with "less money to spend at retail, entertainment and dining out, according to a new study by the Nielsen Company." ("Nielsen: High Gas Prices," 2008)

Nielsen's research for 2007 presents findings that cause many consumers to cringe as they realize their weekly spending for higher gas prices ranged from 12 to 16%, with the expectation that as gas prices rise higher, consumers' budget for their weekly allocation gas will reach19%. "With gas prices expected to hit $4 per gallon this year, consumers will be spending nearly a fifth of their household budget on gas,' said Todd Hale, senior vice president, Consumer & Shopper Insights, Nielsen Consumer Panel Services." ("Nielsen: High Gas Prices," 2008)

STATEMENT of the PROBLEM

As noted in the introduction for this study, the contemporary continued rise in global oil, combined with the petroleum industry's reported low surplus production capacity continues to exert upward pressure on oil prices, in turn, contributing to increasingly, higher gas prices. (Energy Information Agency, 2008) the increase in gas prices contributing to a 20% household budget allocation for higher gas prices, this researcher contends, as noted by Hale ("Nielsen: High Gas Prices," 2008), constitutes a direct impact on what consumers can afford to spend, while it simultaneously signals a critical concern that needs to be addressed. According to the Energy Information Agency (2008), "The projected higher costs for crude oil will contribute to higher petroleum product prices. Consequently, record crude oil prices reportedly push current and expected gasoline prices to record levels.

Motor gasoline prices are projected to average $3.36 per gallon in 2008, up 55 cents from last year. Diesel prices are projected to show even larger increases in 2008, averaging $3.62 per gallon, or 74 cents above the 2007 average price. The monthly average gasoline price is projected to peak t about $3.60 per gallon this spring, while monthly diesel prices are expected to average about $3.90 per gallon in March and April. (Energy Information Agency, 2008)

PRIMARY RESEARCH QUESTION and SUB-QUESTION

The research question constitutes the heart and soul of any investigation, Dereshiwsky, (19-99) stresses. Consequently, the heart and soul of this study, the primary research question, purports: What impact(s) do higher gas prices exert on the automobile industry (GM; Ford; Toyota; BMW; other manufacturers)?

Subsequent questions include:

How has the price of gas progressed through history?

What do higher gas prices impact?

SIGNIFICANCE of THIS STUDY

The researcher purports this particular study to be important as it presents pertinent information/data which will prove useful to other researchers, as well as, to individuals impacted by higher gas prices, particularly those connected to the automobile industry. These individuals will especially benefit as this study aims to complement one's current understanding regarding this critical, contemporary concern.

RESEARCH DESIGN and METHODOLOGY

Study Components

This qualitative study utilizes the literature search methodology and obtains information from a variety of scholarly, news, general and governmental publications. Components contributing to the research process utilized in this study include, but are not limited to:

Literature Search of Relevant Information

Descriptive Research

Qualitative Analyses of Retrieved Information;

Interviews (Five Minimum)

Questionnaires

Conclusion regarding Impact of High Gas Prices

Relevant Research Considerations

Qualitative procedures prove particularly useful and appropriate to present "in-depth" knowledge about a particular concern, situation, setting, subject/group of subjects, etc. As it encompasses the potential to relate a "rich, thick description"(Denzin, cited by Dereshiwsky, 19-99) to characterize qualitative research. In fact, the words "exploratory and descriptive" basically identify a qualitative study.

The following figure (***) portrays two primary research study methods.

Figure in other file

In determining to utilize the qualitative method for this study, this researcher reviewed differences between qualitative vs. quantitative research, as those noted in the above figure (***), along with insight Hoepf (2006) notes regarding the debate related to the relative value of qualitative and quantitative inquiry in the following excerpt of this paper.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative

Phenomenological inquiry, or qualitative research, uses a naturalistic approach that seeks to understand phenomena in context-specific settings. Logical positivism, or quantitative research, uses experimental methods and quantitative measures to test hypothetical generalizations.

Qualitative research, broadly defined, means "any kind of research that produces findings not arrived at by means of statistical procedures or other means of quantification" (Strauss and Corbin, 1990, p. 17). Where quantitative researchers seek causal determination, prediction, and generalization of findings, qualitative researchers seek... illumination, understanding, and extrapolation.... Qualitative analysis results in a different type of knowledge than does quantitative inquiry.

A several considerations qualitative methods can be used to better understand any phenomenon can also be used to gain new perspectives on things about which much is already known, or to gain more in-depth information that may be difficult to convey quantitatively....Thus, qualitative methods are appropriate... where the researcher has determined that quantitative measures cannot adequately describe or interpret a situation.... (Hoepf, 2006)

Dereshiwsky (1999) presents the following table (1), relating qualitative research components, developed by Catherine Marshall and Gretchen Rossman.

Dereshiwsky (1999) contends this design constitutes the best he has found to match up "research questions, designs and qualitative data collection procedures." Dereshiwsky (1999) purports he particularly appreciates this particular guide, as it:

Helps keep the researcher focused on his/her overall goal: to answer the research question(s).

Helps the researcher determine the best way (design and procedures) to consequently answer research questions.

Table 1: Matching Research Questions with Strategy (Adapted from Marshall & Rossman, 1989; cited by Dereshiwsky (1999)

Study Purpose

Research

Question

Research

Strategy

Some Related

Qualitative

Data Collection

Procedures

EXPLORATORY:

to investigate little-understood phenomena to identify/discover important to generate hypotheses for further research

What is happening in this social program

What are the salient themes, patterns, & categories in participants' meaning structures?

How are these patterns linked with one another (to provide the broader explanations for what I'm trying to understand)?

Case study

Field study

Participant observation

In-depth interviewing

Elite interviewing

EXPLANATORY:

to explain the forces causing the phenomenon in question to identify plausible causal networks shaping this phenomenon

What events, beliefs attitudes, & polices are shaping this phenomenon?

How do these forces interact to result in this phenomenon?

Field study

Case study

Ethnography

Participant observation

In-depth interviewing

Document analysis

Unobstrusive measures

Survey

DESCRIPTIVE:

to document the phenomenon of interest

What are the salient behaviors, events beliefs, attitudes, structures & processes occurring with regard to my phenomenon of interest?

Field study

Case study

Ethnography

Participation observation

In-depth interviewing

Document analysis

Unobstrusive measures

Survey

PREDICTIVE:

to predict...outcome of the phenomenon to forecast the events & behaviors resulting from the phenomenon

What will occur as a result of this phenomenon?

Who will be affected (individuals, groups)?

In what ways?

Experiment

Quasi-experiment

Survey (large sample)

Kinesics/proxemics

Content analysis

The following table (2) presents another researcher's perception of the differences between qualitative and quantitative research.

Table 2: Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research (Mays and Pope; cited by Greenhalgh and Taylor, 1997)

Qualitative

Quantitative

Social theory

Action

Structure

Methods

Observation, interview

Experiment, survey

Question

What is X?

How many Xs?

A classification) enumeration)

Reasoning

Inductive

Deductive

Sampling method

Theoretical

Statistical

Dereshiwsky (1999) points out that descriptive research documents a study's primary phenomenon. As this study documents its designated phenomenon, higher gas prices' impact on the automobile industry, albeit, as noted earlier, this researcher also utilizes interviews and a questionnaire to obtain information.

Other research methods commonly used in qualitative research, not applicable to this study, include:

Documents -- Study of documentary accounts of events, such as meetings

Passive observation - Systematic watching of behavior and talk in natural occurring settings

Participant observation - Observation in which the researcher also occupies a role or part in the setting, in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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