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Consumers beginning to lean to fuel efficiency

Mar 22, 2011 Brian Bradley

With gas prices on an upward climb, consumers may begin to lean toward fuel efficiency as their leading motivator in buying, according to a new report from Though trucks and sport utility vehicles remained the inventory with the most expressed interest from consumers, AutoTrader found that 53 percent of consumers will consider fuel economy the most when they purchase a new vehicle. However, despite the increasing interest in fuel efficient vehicles, AutoTrader president and chief executive officer Chip Perry said in a statement that such a statistic is not yet representative of a change in the industry. "We're starting to see a little bit of movement on the list of most-searched new cars toward fuel efficiency, but not really enough to say that gas prices had a dramatic effect on consumer shopping behavior in February," said Perry. "In fact, the addition of some heavy-duty trucks shows that consumers have a higher-than-expected threshold for gas prices." Such figures come as Ford chief executive officer Alan Mulally announced during a recent company shareholders meeting that the automaker is better suited to handle rising gas prices than it was during the last spike in fuel costs, The Associated Press reports.