The palladium-related exchange traded fund could shine this year as low gasoline prices and cheap bank loans help attract more new automobile buyers.

The ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (NYSEArca: PALL) has only increased 1.1% over the past year but could begin to pick up momentum in 2015.

The palladium spot price is hovering around $777.3 per ounce Tuesday.

Johnson Matthey Plc, a maker of catalytic converters for automobiles that uses palladium to reduce harmful emissions, projects demand for the precious metal will likely exceed supply for a fourth consecutive year in 2015, reports Laura Clarke for Bloomberg.

Fueling the increased palladium demand, global car sales increased 3.4% in 2014 to a record 81.6 million vehicles. In the U.S., U.S. auto sales rose to an annualized rate of 17.2 million, the highest since November 2003. Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank AG both remain bullish on the palladium outlook because 70% of palladium demand comes from car-parts manufacturers. Specifically, an ounce of palladium supplies enough catalytic converters in about 10 vehicles.

“Palladium is an exciting place to be because of its exposure to gasoline,” Scott Winship, a fund manager at Investec Asset Management, said in the article. “U.S. auto demand is incredibly strong and might even surpass previous peaks that we saw before the financial crisis.”

Bolstering U.S. auto sales, near-zero interest rates, a stronger job market and cheap fuel costs are allowing American consumers to finally purchase some big-ticket items that they pushed off in the wake of the financial crisis.

Cheaper fuel “might attract some drivers to buy a car when they otherwise wouldn’t have,” Jonathon Poskitt, the head of sales forecasting for Europe at LMC Automotive Ltd., said in the article.

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