Politics / ArcaMax

Cheap gas attracts thirstier vehicles, but tougher fuel economy standards will make them guzzle less

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- In the past when gasoline got cheap, U.S. consumers became energy hogs, snapping up Hummers and other big, less-efficient cars and trucks. With gas prices at their lowest in five years, there are signs that could happen again. In November, SUVs logged big sales gains while a fuel-efficient car like the Toyota Prius suffered a downturn. But there also are signs that gas consumption, though up from last year, might not repeat past surges. Consider the case of Julie Bartlett of Kansas City. She drives a thirsty V-8 Ford Expedition that tips the scales at two tons. Next year, she is trading in the SUV. "Fuel economy is one of our priorities," said Bartlett, who ...

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