Long Islanders registered 3 percent more new cars and trucks...

Long Islanders registered 3 percent more new cars and trucks in September than a year earlier, a new report shows. Credit: iStock

Long Islanders registered 3 percent more new cars and trucks in September than a year earlier, a new report shows. The report said sales of pickups, SUVs and vans have risen as gasoline prices have dropped.

Nassau and Suffolk residents registered 19,259 new vehicles in September, up from 18,693 in the same month a year earlier, according to a monthly report done for the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association. It was done by a Pennsylvania consulting firm, analyzing registrations data from the auto information company R.L. Polk & Co. for a nine-county area that includes New York City, Rockland and Westchester.

There was no county-by-county breakdown of registrations by type of vehicle. But for the region, registrations of cars slipped 1 percent in the month from a year earlier while registrations of light duty trucks, including SUVs, pickups and vans, rose almost 15 percent.

At Eagle Chevrolet in Riverhead, owner Mark Calisi said his light truck sales were mostly responsible for his store's 3 percent sales gain in September.

"Truck sales were very strong in September, October and this month," he said. "I think part of it would have to be the falling gas prices."

President Mark Schienberg of the dealers association agreed. "We've seen this before; when gas prices have fallen off, trucks pick up in a significant way."

Pump prices nationwide have been falling since July. On Long Island, they have fallen by more than 80 cents a gallon.

Nationally, car and truck sales grew 9 percent in September, according to trade paper Automotive News, triple the pace of Long Island's increase. Some of the biggest gains nationally, however, were by brands such as Chevrolet, Ram and GMC that are not major players in the New York metropolitan area market.

Schienberg noted that September of last year was a very strong month regionally, with registrations up by 29.3 percent in the nine counties over the same month in 2012 -- an increase that made gains this year more difficult to attain.

"We were just on a crazy roll," Schienberg said. "The weather was good, the economy was rebounding very nicely and home sales were picking up."

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