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Gas prices opening up car choices

A gas pump displays prices at a Shell service station. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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When Bryan Hartman, a junior high math teacher from Illinois, started shopping for a family car last winter, gas prices were about $2.50 a gallon and falling.

Hartman knew he wanted a Honda, but was unsure whether to choose a larger car for his growing family, or stick with a smaller, more fuel-efficient version.

A night of research helped him decide: the smaller car was the better choice.

When it came down to looking at how much we were going to have to put in it, ” Hartman explains, “whether gas was two dollars a gallon or four dollars – which seems feasible again – it was just going to be too much over the lifetime of owning the car.”

Gas prices, after all, can go up at any time. 

Auto analysts say sales of light trucks and SUVs are up in the wake of lower gas prices.

But they note that even larger autos are more fuel-efficient than they were in years past. 

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