Unperformed maintenance figures in the United States reportedly dropped in 2005, according to a recent study conducted by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association. While to total dollar figure attributed to unperformed maintenance still sits at a staggering U.S. $52 billion, the study has noted an improvement of some $4 billion over 2004. The current estimated dollar amount, while the lowest since 1998, still represents approximately 22% of the total market, but is well lower than the recent high of $62 billion recorded in 2002. “This drop may signify that industry efforts to educate consumers on vehicle maintenance may be paying off and that owners are indeed taking better care of their cars and trucks,” said Steve Handschuh, executive director of AASA. “The $52 billion still represents a significant amount of potential business for aftermarket parts manufacturers, distributors, retailers, jobbers and service professionals.” The report also warns of potential fluctuations in that number for 2006, as it will be difficult to predict the effects of higher fuel prices on the market. On one hand, consumers will have less disposable income to put towards costly repairs, while on the other hand; there has been a growing number of purchases and replacements in parts that can have an effect on fuel economy. Improved sales in filters, hoses and emissions systems have all been cited in this consumer push for greater fuel efficiency. The full report will be released by the AASA as part of their larger annual report next month.