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Car buyers rank fuel economy No. 1

Hillary Wicai Aug 23, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: When you’re buying a new car, what are you thinking about? How much it costs. How well it drives. Whether ita€™s gonna leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere . . . sure, but a Consumer Reports survey out this morning finds that fuel economy is now the No. 1 consideration. Marketplace’s Hillary Wicai reports.

HILLARY WICAI: As gas prices stay right around $3 a gallon, it’s no wonder a recent phone survey showed that 27% of likely vehicle buyers ranked gas mileage as their No. 1 factor.

Reliability is next at 25%. Price is third at 14%.

Robert Gentile is with Consumer Reports. He says the survey aimed to find out what incentives influence people’s car-buying.

Things like 0% financing and cash back made some difference but the power of the pump was unexpected.

ROBERT GENTILE:“Although we know fuel economy is top-of-mind for consumers, particularly in this new environment, we really surprised it ranked No. 1 ahead of all the other types of incentives that are out there.”

This could be further bad news for US automakers which saw Truck and SUV sales down for the first seven months of the year compared with last year. Car sales were up.

In Washington, I’m Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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